Home Energy Magazine's Blog (56)

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

Book Review—Home Performance Diagnostics: The Guide to Advanced Testing

It (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) is superior to the larger book in two important ways. First, it is somewhat cheaper than the Encyclopedia Galactica. Second, it has the words “DON’T PANIC” inscribed in large, friendly letters on its cover.

—“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” Douglas Adams

If there were any book in my library that deserves that “Don’t…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 26, 2012 at 12:32pm — 2 Comments

Century Club Contractor Spotlight: Chad Ruhoff, Neil Kelly Company

Every year EPA and DOE recognize members of the home performance industry with the Century Club Award. The award goes to companies that improved the energy efficiency of more than 100 homes in a single year through the Home Performance with Energy Star program.

As we know, behind every successful efficiency program, there is a team of hard-working contractors. This year, we got a chance to speak to some of the contractors that participated in local programs to achieve these…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 25, 2012 at 3:26pm — No Comments

Editorial: Reflections on ACI

An industry's health is sometimes measured by the enthusiasm of its trade shows. Arguably, ACI is not a trade show, but it certainly is a bellwether for the home performance industry. And it rocked. By all measures, ACI was larger, broader, and more exciting than past conferences.

ACI continues to be a magnet for audiences ranging from contractors just starting out and receiving blower door training to engineers and building scientists. In this way, it serves as the premier…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on May 1, 2012 at 10:34am — 5 Comments

Energy Out West

The Energy Out West conference is held every other year and began in 1996 when a group of people doing weatherization work in the Northwest thought they could help each other do it better. The current president of Energy Out West (EOW) is Mimi Burbage, who should be familiar to readers of Home Energy and anyone in weatherization. Mimi brings that independent, Alaska, straight talk style to whatever she does, from heading the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to her work for EOW.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on April 26, 2012 at 11:33am — 1 Comment

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