Home Energy Magazine's Blog (60)

Insurance Industry Paying Increasing Attention to Climate Change

The insurance industry, the world's largest business with $4.6 trillion in revenues, is making larger efforts to manage climate change-related risks, according to a new study published today in the journal Science.

"Weather- and climate-related insurance losses today average $50 billion a year. These losses have more than doubled each decade since the 1980s, adjusted for inflation," says the study's author Evan Mills, a scientist in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on December 18, 2012 at 12:58pm — No Comments

The Installed Price of Solar PV Systems Continues to Decline

The installed price of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States fell substantially in 2011 and through the first half of 2012, according to the latest edition of Tracking the Sun, an annual PV cost-tracking report produced by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). 

The median installed price of residential and commercial PV systems completed in 2011 fell by roughly 11% to 14% from the year before, depending on system…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 28, 2012 at 10:23am — 1 Comment

From Construction to Collaborative Training—Q&A with Chris Dorsi

What do you call a former construction worker that knows how to dance the tango? Chris Dorsi. Okay, so maybe it’s not the best punch line, but it is certainly interesting. And that’s not the only thing we learned about Dorsi in the following interview.

Currently gearing up for regional conferences to be hosted by his newly founded company Habitat X in Portland and San Francisco, Dorsi is focused on combining professional training with…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 28, 2012 at 10:18am — No Comments

Book Review: Power from the People

Power from the People by Greg Pahl is yet another release in the “Communitiy Reslience Guide” series.

The book focuses on tangible information, which can guide communities, regions, and individuals into a stable future.

Pahl first focuses on the myriad problems that we face today. With rising energy costs come increased food costs, increased cost of living, and the ultimate breakdown…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 19, 2012 at 1:29pm — No Comments

Book Review: The New New Deal Finds that “Weatherization Works”

This is personal. When I heard reports about rampant waste and abuse in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that turned out to be false, I thought of all the people I know who worked tirelessly to meet one goal of ARRA—to weatherize 600,000 homes before March, 2012—and it made me very angry. The men and women of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) met and exceeded that goal, with minimum fraud, abuse, and waste. In fact, they reached 1-million homes weatherized…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 2, 2012 at 2:30pm — 5 Comments

Editorial: Energy Efficiency Advice to the Next Administration

As I write this editorial in early October, the outcome of the election remains uncertain. That’s just fine, because it allows me to offer early advice to whichever candidate wins. Here are some recommendations based on my years with Home Energy.

The government plays an important role in lowering energy demand. If Americans expect the government to establish policies to regulate natural-gas fracking and power plant emissions, then it should also address energy efficiency. The…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 2, 2012 at 10:26am — 2 Comments

Born Into Home Performance—Q&A with Maureen Mahle

Maureen Mahle is the vice president and director of Sustainable Housing Services for Steven Winter Associates, Inc. She’s also new to the Home Energy Board of Directors. As a welcome to the board, and as an introduction to our readers, we decided to get to know Maureen a little better. Below is our conversation.

Home…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on October 18, 2012 at 9:16am — 1 Comment

What Is a Home Performance Contractor?

Lately we've been thinking about how readers who know nothing about Home Energy magazine, or home performance for that matter, would react if they stumbled upon our website. Yes, our magazine is aimed at home performance professionals, but what about the people that are just entering the profession? Or those that are thinking about it?

In an effort to help those individuals understand what our industry does, and how our magazine is connected, we came up with the following…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on October 11, 2012 at 1:31pm — No Comments

One Millionth Home Weatherized

Today the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) and the Community Action Partnership celebrated the one-millionth home weatherized nationwide since April 2009. Partnering with state and local…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 27, 2012 at 4:01pm — No Comments

Real Numbers for a LEED for Homes Indiana Success Story

The Gulyas residence in Bloomington, Indiana was one of the first homes in Indiana to receive LEED for Homes Platinum certification. Through the use of passive house techniques and additional sustainable design strategies this project easily met and surpassed the criteria for LEED.



A home energy metric measuring energy per square foot calculation and spreadsheet was created by Allison Bailes III, PhD, to help effectively measure electric and gas usage in a house.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 25, 2012 at 11:51am — No Comments

Beyond the Cover—Q&A with Chuck Watkins, Veterans Green Jobs

The latest cover (right) of Home Energy features a photo of a man named Scott Willingham. Scott is pictured while working as part of the Veterans Green Jobs program, which trains veterans to work in the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), as well as other green jobs.

That cover photo leads readers to a…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 5, 2012 at 3:37pm — No Comments

Editorial: The Rising Cost of Water

The chart below recently caught my attention (1). It shows the changes in prices over time of residential “utilities,” that is, electricity, natural gas, water and sewage, and telephones. My attention normally goes directly to the familiar energy utilities, electricity and natural gas. But wait! Water and sewage prices—they are typically billed together—have outstripped all others. The prices for water and sewage have been climbing so rapidly that water-related expenditures now exceed those…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 4, 2012 at 2:00pm — 6 Comments

Walking The Talk

Carol Markell, our sales manager extraordinaire, always appreciated the people in this industry because she found them to be conscientious, hardworking, and generally a kind and socially engaged community who walked their talk. To honor her memory, we (the staff at Home Energy) asked ourselves how we walked our own talk. Following is what we discovered about each other:

Kate, our production manager, reported that every night she turns off all her electronics…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on August 20, 2012 at 10:45am — 1 Comment

Green Roofs for Homeless Youth

In August 2011, Affordable Housing Associates (AHA) celebrated the completion of Harmon Gardens, a multifamily apartment building that provides shelter and supportive services for 15 transition-age youth, ages 18–24, which are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Designed by HKIT Architects, and constructed by Midstate Construction Company, Harmon Gardens aims to be a model for sustainable design. Located in Berkeley, California, the development utilizes existing infrastructure and PV…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on August 15, 2012 at 3:02pm — 3 Comments

Our Youth and Our Planet—Q&A With Berkeley High’s Green Academy

Hello Readers! My Name is Toni White. I came to Home Energy magazine a little over a year ago as an office assistant intern. My home city is Berkeley, California (which is also where HE Mag is located). Berkeley is a small city that neighbors San Francisco and Oakland, and has a population of about 112,000. I call Berkeley the “Hippie City” as it’s very open-minded, liberal, has a mixture of different people, and a sense of calm. We are also home to one of the best schools,…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on August 9, 2012 at 1:20pm — No Comments

In Memoriam: Carol Markell

We are very sad to announce the sudden passing of our colleague, Carol Markell. Carol died unexpectedly on Thursday, July 19, in the company of her closest friends while on vacation in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. As Home Energy’s Advertising and Marketing Manager for over a decade, Carol developed relationships with scores of Home Performance industry professionals and advertisers, networking at…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on July 24, 2012 at 3:30pm — 4 Comments

Editorial: Why Japan's Electricity Crisis Matters

You may not read about it on the front page of the newspapers, but Japan is undergoing a second electricity crisis. The first took place last spring and summer after the Fukushima earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent meltdown of multiple nuclear power plants. That power crisis mostly affected Tokyo and northern Japan. This second crisis affects all of Japan, and it has implications for the United States (and the world) at many different levels.

From an energy perspective, Japan is (at…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on July 3, 2012 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

Century Club Contractor Spotlight: Todd Russo, REEIS

The fourth in our series of spotlighted Century Club contractors is Todd Russo, President of REEIS, a retrofit company with offices in both Arizona and California. Working with the Foundation for Senior Living and the Arizona Public Service Department, REEIS earned the Century Club Award for 2011 by completing energy efficiency improvements to 854 homes. Here's how they did it.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 29, 2012 at 9:27am — No Comments

Century Club Contractor Spotlight: Hal Smith, Home Energy Performance By Halco

In 2011, Halco earned DOE and EPA's Century Club Award by improving the energy efficiency of 278 homes, more than doubling their Home Performance with Energy Star work in 2010, which was 121 homes. Working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) program, Halco was not just able to improve energy efficiency in the area, but they did so with…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 28, 2012 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Century Club Contractor Spotlight: Fred Hutchinson, Hutchinson Plumbing Heating Cooling

Another Century Club Award-winner this year is Hutchinson Plumbing Heating Cooling. Working with the New Jersey State's Clean Energy Program, Hutchinson completed 431 jobs in 2011 that improved the energy efficiency of homes through the Home Performance with Energy Star Program. We had a chance to talk about this year's success with owner Fred Hutchinson. Here's his business profile and thoughts on the future.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 27, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

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