Home Energy Magazine's Blog (106)

Boosting Insulation Can Reduce Energy Use, Pollution

Those of us working within the building industry or energy efficiency space in existing homes know that boosting insulation levels can reduce energy use, cut consumer costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, there’s been a modest amount of data to quantify the extent of the benefits—particularly at the state level. Until now.

New …

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on July 18, 2016 at 2:32pm — No Comments

11 Flavors of Sustainable Housing

Keeping track of what's going on in the world of low-impact, sustainable housing is, and was, a challenge.

We did a study for CMHC back in the early 00's looking for great examples for a series of case studies that required collecting a ton of info on many projects. CMHC published only 3 of 24 case studies, but…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 13, 2016 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

Converging Trends

Environmental Leader recently described legal challenges faced by a business coalition supporting the “Clean Power Plan.” Aside from the Supreme Court’s intervention, the coalition “is fighting more than …

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 6, 2016 at 10:18am — 1 Comment

My Apartment in Tokyo

Every time I visit Japan I learn something new, and my most recent trip was no exception. This time I stayed in an apartment, which exposed me to several new energy-related devices. First, what’s this gadget attached to the wall? (See photo below.)

Reading the Japanese isn’t terribly informative, because the label just says it’s a “peak alarm unit.” The apartment’s owner pays the…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on June 2, 2016 at 9:56am — 3 Comments

Increasing Home Value Through Energy Upgrades

It turns out that one of the most valuable remodeling options is one you can’t see. That’s the conclusion of the recent Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling magazine, which compares the average cost for popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale value in 100 different U.S. markets. For…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on April 6, 2016 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

Energy Fit: Engaging Consumer Experiences That Lead to Better Energy Habits

Fitness wearables inspire people to change; to exercise more in order to meet their daily goals. These sophisticated gadgets gather previously untapped data about our everyday lives to give us a better understanding of ourselves – otherwise known as the “quantified self.”

Like fitness wearables, exposing how we’re using energy can unlock our collective potential to reduce our electricity bills and our…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on April 6, 2016 at 10:28am — 1 Comment

Free Electricity

A curious situation has recently arisen in electricity grids around the world: The wholesale price of electricity has occasionally gone negative. This means that the market will pay customers to use electricity. The grid in Texas experienced negative prices last September. Soon afterward, a Texan retail electricity provider—not to be confused with a utility—began offering residential…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on March 10, 2016 at 8:29pm — No Comments

Texas' Five-Star Butterfly and Hummingbird Retreat

[This blog is cross-posted from Home Energy Magazine.]

By Doug Garrett

When we built our new home 50 miles from Austin on 21+ acres we made the decision to have all of our indoor water come from harvested rainwater and to make our flower gardens bigger than they were at our first country…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on February 16, 2016 at 10:30am — No Comments

The Discreet Charm of Attics and Crawl Spaces

You would be professionally remiss if you did not read “Attics and Crawl Spaces” in this issue. The article by Terry Nordbye is a valuable reminder that home performance problems too often begin in the places that we least want to work on or inspect. Mold, dry rot, and despicable smells emanating…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 7, 2016 at 3:30pm — No Comments

The Real Women of Home Performance: Marge Anderson

Marge Anderson is the Executive Vice President of Seventhwave, a non-profit that advances environmental and economic sustainability. Her passions include empowering practitioners through education, scaling energy efficiency, and making sustainability real for the under-served.

Macie Melendez: How did you get started in the home performance industry?

Marge…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on December 8, 2015 at 7:44am — 1 Comment

The Future of Sustainable Business is Transparent

The idea of business transparency might seem antithetical to success and may frighten some companies. But collaborative efforts across businesses and sectors have shown that the triple-bottom-line benefits of transparency far outweigh the perceived risks. In fact, as more consumers demand proof that the products they buy fulfill the promise of the label, transparency is becoming a key differentiator that sets…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on December 8, 2015 at 7:42am — 1 Comment

My Fall Into The Smart Home, Lazy Life

Last year I moved into a house that needed some work. So far I’ve replaced the foundation, installed seismic upgrades, added central heat, repainted, and much more. (Anybody know a good fireplace guy?)

Along the way, I’ve been slowly upgrading to smart home technology. I ripped out my old, broken doorbell and added Ring, which detects when people are at my door and sends a video notification to my phone.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 18, 2015 at 8:51am — 2 Comments

How to Get Started Working as a Full-Time Energy Auditor

It is not often clear the path a BPI-certified energy auditor should take, or where exactly the opportunities lie… to buffer existing business, as side work, to work as a full-time energy auditor, or to go out on your own, the opportunities are vast and diverse. Oftentimes we get our energy auditor certification as a kind of back-up plan or to aid a struggling business. Or maybe you attended BPI training as…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 18, 2015 at 8:50am — No Comments

Green Real Estate Agents Help "Power" Veterans Through Solar in Habitat for Humanity Homes

Andy Nelson is the CEO and president of San Diego-based Willis Allen Real Estate. Joining the firm in 1977 as the youngest team member, Nelson drew on his leadership experience and training as a former naval officer to implement his innovative ideas and became CEO four years later. Nelson continues to grow the business by researching new high-end…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 11, 2015 at 9:35am — No Comments

The Real Women of Home Performance: Mina Agarabi

Mina Agarabi is the Principal Mechanical Engineer at Agarabi Engineering PLLC, a consulting firm focused on operations and maintenance and energy efficiency. Prior to establishing her firm, she conducted light commercial and residential energy assessments and oversaw the installation of numerous energy-efficiency projects at Association for Energy Affordability and Steven Winter Associates. Agarabi has several…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 11, 2015 at 9:30am — No Comments

VW Isn't the Only One That Circumvents

The outrage against Volkswagen (VW) is justified, but let’s not forget that other manufacturers—a lot of manufacturers—have been circumventing energy and emissions tests for decades. Here are a few of my own experiences.

Cadillac was circumventing emissions test procedures 20 years before VW. Cadillac’s engineers faced the same dilemma: How do they comply with emissions control requirements without sacrificing performance? Not surprisingly, they solved…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on November 2, 2015 at 10:04am — 5 Comments

Stevens Institute of Technology Wins Solar Decathlon 2015

Stevens Institute of Technology won top honors overall at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 by designing, building, and operating the most cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive solar powered house.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on October 21, 2015 at 10:29am — No Comments

Seaming with Industrial Tape: Q&A with Risa Edelstein

Recently we got the opportunity to speak with Risa Edelstein, an expert on barrier seaming with adhesive tape. Edelstein is one of the executives at ECHOtape, a worldwide provider of pressure sensitive industrial tape.

Tape works with insulation systems as a complement for energy efficiency. It is an accessory product…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on October 21, 2015 at 10:27am — No Comments

Twenty-First-Century Energy Efficiency—with Carbon on Our Minds

After the first oil embargo, in 1973, our nation recognized the need to save energy in a coordinated way. It made sense to designate energy utilities to coordinate energy-saving activities in buildings, because nobody had better access to the customer and to key information about the customer. This led to three decades of utility-managed energy conservation programs. Many succeeded. Some did not.

But times change. Today, there’s a new imperative:…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on September 2, 2015 at 3:23pm — 2 Comments

The Real Women of Home Performance

At the ACI National Conference this year, I was remiss that there was no official presence of Women in Home Performance. What I found encouraging was that people noticed and asked for more. So, with the gracious assistance of long time supporter Macie Melendez of Home Energy magazine, we’re back! Macie and I will be interviewing women in the industry in a blog series, The Real Women of…
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Added by Home Energy Magazine on July 14, 2015 at 1:57pm — 6 Comments

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