Home Energy Magazine's Blog (82)

What's Reasonable Versus What's Heroic

Ann Edminster, M.Arch, LEED AP (pictured left, observing work done in her attic) is a recognized international expert on green-home design and a principal developer of the LEED for Homes rating system. She travels widely and consults with builders, homeowners, developers, design firms, utilities, investors, and public agencies. We recently discussed what’s at the heart of the…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 7, 2015 at 1:52pm — 4 Comments

The Fast-Changing World of Saving Energy

In reviewing the content of Home Energy's January/February issue, I was struck by how rapidly the energy-saving business is changing. In the issue, we cover the come-from-nowhere explosion in LEDs. Another article about energy-efficient homes in Germany describes the rapid shift to near zero energy homes. That article also reminds us why it is getting risky to ignore activities on what used to be the…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 6, 2015 at 12:16pm — 2 Comments

The Wired Home: Which Technologies Actually Work?

With today's sky-high energy costs, homeowners and energy industry professionals alike are constantly looking for ways to increase energy efficiency and save money. Fortunately, advancements in home automation technology have made this easier than ever.

From smart thermostats to air quality monitors to Wi-Fi enabled…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on December 17, 2014 at 4:32pm — No Comments

Lighting Services for Aliens

You have probably seen those amazing images of the world at night as observed from space—hundreds of times. Below is one photo, but many others show expanded views of smaller areas. I still marvel at how those necklaces of light show the shapes of our cities. The lights tell stories, too. For example, the Korean peninsula appears surgically sliced at the Demilitarized Zone,…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 12, 2014 at 1:31pm — 2 Comments

A Day in the Life of Learning

We now know that people learn effectively when they construct their own learning, rather than being told about it. The instructor moves off the stage and becomes the Guide on the Side.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 25, 2014 at 3:30pm — 7 Comments

From Energy Audits to Home Performance - 30 Years with Home Energy Magazine

Home Energy magazine (HEM) has been publishing articles about residential energy efficiency for 30 years. Our articles, editorials, letters, and advertisements provide a kind of window into the evolution of energy conservation technologies, policies, and organizations. Initially, the focus was on audits and simple retrofits, such as weather-stripping and insulation. In those…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 24, 2014 at 12:13pm — 1 Comment

Home Energy Magazine Features 30 Home Performance Leaders Under 30 to Celebrate 30th Year in Print

The September/October 2014 issue of Home Energy marks the magazine’s 30th year in print. To celebrate that milestone, an industry-wide call for nominations found noteworthy professionals in home performance who were 30 years of age or younger. The feature article introduces the young people who the industry can count on to lead the home performance industry for the next 30 years. 

Home Energy’s associate editor, Macie Melendez, compiled the nominations and…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 4, 2014 at 2:56pm — 1 Comment

Learning Applied Building Science is Still Hard to Do

As part of Home Energy’s 30th birthday celebration, we are pleased to reprint a 1994 article by Michael Uniacke describing the way he taught building science in a community college (see the article here). Mastering the intricacies of the building science related to energy performance is no…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on August 6, 2014 at 8:40am — 4 Comments

Interview with Van Jones: Rebuilding the Dream in Detroit, Part 3

[This is the third in a three-part inteview with Van Jones, who delivered the keynote address in Detroit, Mich., on April 30, 2014, to attendees of the ACI National Home Performance Conference.  The full interview is posted in three consecutive blogs.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on May 15, 2014 at 2:48pm — No Comments

Interview with Van Jones: Rebuilding the Dream in Detroit, Part 2

[This is the second in a three-part inteview with Van Jones, who delivered the keynote address in Detroit, Mich., on April 30, 2014, to attendees of the ACI National Home Performance Conference.  The full interview is posted in three consecutive blogs. …

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on May 14, 2014 at 2:11pm — No Comments

Interview with Van Jones: Rebuilding the Dream in Detroit, Part 1

Van Jones delivered the opening plenary keynote speech for ACI's 2014 National Home Performance Conference in Detroit last week.  I've been aware of Van's work since he started the Green Collar Job Corps program at the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, Calif., back in 2007.  Van was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act that was signed into law by Pres. George W. Bush in that year. 

Under the Obama…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on May 13, 2014 at 2:46pm — 1 Comment

The House of Mystery

Sometimes we forget how complicated a house is. Building scientists know all about a house’s complexity because, even with help from supercomputers, they still can’t reliably simulate many of the processes taking place, let alone model the whole house. Perhaps the biggest challenge is that the darn thing can’t keep still. Cycles with different periods impose their wills on the structure and equipment in not entirely predictable ways. The seasons impose annual cycles for the sun and average…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on May 2, 2014 at 2:54pm — No Comments

Thirty Years of Waterbeds and Home Energy Magazine

The January/February 2014 issue of Home Energy magazine officially kicks off our 30th year in print. In commemoration of our 30 years we will be reprinting some of our earliest articles. We hope that these articles are both entertaining and informative.

This first…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 2, 2014 at 10:14am — 2 Comments

December 9, 2013...Will It Go Down In Weatherization History As The Day That Changed The Future?

“Weatherization Drives New Technology and the Home Performance Industry,” hosted by NASCSP, brought a full house of movers and shakers to the White House to demonstrate WAP’s technical innovations, leadership in the home performance industry, and role as a go-to partner for utility and other partnership projects. Brad Penney, on behalf of NASCSP, opened the event and thanked the…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on December 13, 2013 at 9:18am — 14 Comments

We're Too Serious

While preparing for Home Energy’s 30th anniversary, we leafed through some of the earliest issues. Today’s issues are slick compared to those early years. It was amateur hour then because an untrained staff researched and wrote articles, prepared artwork, edited, typeset, proofed, and much more. Still, the topics have not changed much and—sadly—some of the editorials from the 1980s…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 5, 2013 at 10:00am — No Comments

Lighting Controls and Zero Energy Homes

An article in the September/October issue of Home Energy, "Boosting Multifamily Energy Savings Through Lighting Control Settings" (page 38), has implications beyond dramatic savings in stairwells in apartment buildings. Ostensibly the article is about proper settings for motion sensors and the…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 3, 2013 at 12:22pm — 1 Comment

Elder Star

All of us have elderly relatives or friends, but have you ever considered their energy consumption patterns? On the surface, those patterns may look little different from your own, but in fact the aging population brings new needs across the whole spectrum of health, transportation, recreation, housing, and safety. And since the over-65 cohort is a growing…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on July 9, 2013 at 3:51pm — 3 Comments

Code Conflict Between 2012 IRC and 2012 IECC

It has come to my attention that there may be a building science-based conflict in the language of the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC) and 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

The 2012 IECC sets the mandatory blower door tested and certified air infiltration rate at 5 ACH50 in CZ1 & 2 and an even tighter 3 ACH50 in CZ 3 and above. The problem lies in the fact that the new…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 19, 2013 at 1:09pm — 3 Comments

Home Performance and HVAC Contractors: Recent Legislative Initiative In Texas

As energy auditors and raters went about their business of testing homes, performing energy audits and HVAC system inspections, they discovered and reported certain “problems” to the homeowners of Texas. For example, they reported that HVAC systems were oversized, or suffering from massive duct leakage! In late 2011, The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), which oversees the HVAC industry,…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 19, 2013 at 11:07am — 3 Comments

Home Energy and the Fracking Dividend

Most of us will agree that it’s technically feasible to build homes that consume dramatically less energy than today’s typical home. And in most locations we can build a home that draws net zero energy from the utility. But it’s economics that makes us hesitate. Specifically, it’s the value of those energy savings. Can the additional investment be offset by anticipated reductions in energy costs? It’s the same thing for retrofits of existing homes: Do the lower energy bills justify the…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on March 1, 2013 at 12:00pm — 5 Comments

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