December 2010 Blog Posts (20)

Have a Listen: "The Blower Door Man is Coming to Town" from the Energy Circle Lounge

This past weekend Martin Holladay posted a series of "Christmas Carols from the Energy Nerd," classic Christmas songs hilariously rewritten for building energy nerds like us... and probably you, too.

So one of our team members, Greg -- a man of great talent and true genius -- decided to put one of them to a tune.

Special thanks to Martin Holladay for permission to sing his song. In…


Added by Peter Troast on December 23, 2010 at 9:44am — 7 Comments

When the Prognosis is Bad

While browsing the daily news on, I was first startled and then delighted to

see an article on the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. As is the

general rule for government agencies, this one is known by its acronym: DNR.

Do Not Resucitate. After having been the caregiver to two parents--one of whom died

under conditions that were made bearable only by morphine provided by Hospice, and

the other of whom fought like Custer until the…


Added by Ed Voytovich on December 21, 2010 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Getting Past the Cost Objection

It's amazing what excuses homeowners will come up with when it comes to avoiding spending money.  Even though I have found that most people in our field truly feel they are helping people, salesmanship (often uneasily) still comes into play based on homeowner perception of sales people (and based on all the BS that floats around out there do you blame them). Getting past objections can sometimes become an art form.


I recently performed a full energy audit on the home of a…


Added by Jon LaMonte on December 20, 2010 at 7:00pm — 7 Comments

Building Best Practices: Bag Your Safety Gear!

That’s right: Bag your safety gear! No, I don’t mean discard it. A practice I’ve established for myself is using a gear bag for dedicated storage of all my personal safety gear. And nothing else. Keeping everything in a single, protected place means I know where things are when I need them, and nothing gets lost, crushed, scratched, or outright destroyed. Face it; personal safety equipment is vitally important. It deserves its own, dedicated, protective carrier...[…


Added by John Poole on December 19, 2010 at 5:56pm — No Comments

5 Reasons House Wrap Is Not an Air Barrier

It took me a while to figure out that a building is basically just a structural framework with control layers. Yeah, there's also electrical, plumbing, mechanical systems, and finishes, but the heart of a building is the stuff that holds it up and that moderates the flows of heat,…


Added by Allison A. Bailes III on December 17, 2010 at 1:10pm — No Comments

The Many Shades Of One Color: Part 2

To continue on from our last conversation, I would first like to offer a definition as to what I personally believe a “green product” should strive to do.

A green product can generally be defined as a product that, from raw material extraction, to end-of-life disposal, lessens its impact on the environment as thoroughly as possible.

While being mindful of the previously stated definition, I would like to ask each of you to look around right now, where ever you location, and…


Added by Nathan Christensen on December 17, 2010 at 9:02am — No Comments

Enhancing Your Infrared (Thermal) Imaging Scan

Wouldn't it be nice to have all your sites fully prepared for you before you arrive for an infrared scan? It can be possible if you politely ask your clients to have the home (or job site) prepared for you in order to alleviate any issues during the thermal scan. With the many unprepared infrared scans that I have completed, I have come up with a list in order for you to achieve the maximum benefit of your infrared inspections....


• Plan optimal times of day for your infrared…


Added by David Valley on December 17, 2010 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

Restoring Credibility in the Efficiency Marketplace

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and nowhere is this adage truer than with the assurance of a manufacturer’s compliance with energy efficiency standards and endorsement programs. If any link is broken in this process, then it is impossible to “haul up” those energy savings for the consumer. The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are finally taking actions to repair some of the more fragile links in this chain, beginning with the actual…


Added by Carol A. Markell on December 15, 2010 at 9:00am — 2 Comments

Why We Save: When the Cost of Energy Hits Home

As we work to save energy, one of our goals is to save dollars for consumers. But there are other costs that energy professionals can minimize as well, for example, obtaining and transporting energy and building materials. Knowing that we are helping to minimize these 'external' costs will renew our motivation to save energy, and hopefully inspire home energy users to save…


Added by Tom White on December 13, 2010 at 3:59pm — No Comments

Recovery through Retrofit: The Workforce Guidelines Public Comments

While I was originally planning to do a Cliff Notes version of the Workforce Guidelines, that idea was looking less & less likely after hitting two pages of notes. When I was less than 200 pages in & a computer problem destroyed over three pages of notes, the idea officially hit the scrap bin. As a reminder, the NRRG (National Residential Retrofit Guidelines) is part of the Recovery through Retrofit program and is open for Public Comment until January 7th as listed…


Added by Sean Lintow Sr on December 12, 2010 at 1:00pm — 1 Comment

Energy Performance Does Add Value! Just look at the HERS Rating!

Trying to demonstrate to the unknowing that enhanced home energy performance translates into enhanced resale value is not an easy task. But actually it is right there in the HERS Rating!?

Even though most of us 'energy pros' understand that the increased comfort, health, durability, and lower energy bills means that the property should be more desirable and more valuable, it is hard to get this going due to the true way that properties are valued.


Added by Jamie Kaye on December 11, 2010 at 7:30am — 3 Comments

Persuading 5-Million Home Buyers to Invest in Energy Efficiency

Federal and state governments are deploying billions of dollars in an unprecedented push to weatherize America’s existing homes in order to save energy and create jobs. However, the programs piloted by the government during the past decade, and more recently by the utilities, do not yet come close to being able to meet these goals. America can no longer afford to measure program ramp-up time in terms of years, nor should the public have to spend thousands of…


Added by Doris Ikle on December 10, 2010 at 10:44am — 5 Comments

Duct Testing Accuracy

Did you know you can test the accuracy of your equipment before you get on site? As a manufacturer, we often get tech support calls from auditors who are on site, and wondering if their equipment is providing an accurate reading. Thankfully, there is an easy way to test both your duct tester and gauge, regardless of manufacturer, before you get on site. There is, after all, nothing worse than showing up on site, and not being…


Added by Silvie Votrubova on December 10, 2010 at 6:00am — 1 Comment

Through prediction or performance, how do we meet our energy challenges?

Henry Gifford, a mechanical systems designer and principal at Gifford Fuel Saving, Inc. in New York City, is suing the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for millions of dollars. Gifford, in the class action suit, claims that the USGBC has committed fraud in the selling of its Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) program, and has unfairly kept work away from people like him who are not involved in the program. (Photo of Henry Gifford by Travis Roozee.)…


Added by Jim Gunshinan on December 9, 2010 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Infrared Detects Piping Issues Behind Walls

pipe leaks

The problem faced by most property owners is that any moisture behind the walls, over ceilings, and under the floors are often impossible to detect until the problem is excessive and obviously visible. But, by then it’s too late and all damaged surfaces must now be replaced, along with the pipes that caused the damage. Small supply pipe leaks or waste line seepage's are common sources of water…


Added by David Valley on December 9, 2010 at 9:00am — No Comments

Home Trends Further Establish the Value of Consultants

In recent years, the residential design and construction industry has experienced a dramatic transformation. Simply, in the current environment, there are many more complex decisions to be made, even more constraints, and genuine economic, environmental, cultural, and social implications to consider. In addition to micro-level demands,…


Added by Jed Peterson on December 8, 2010 at 8:30pm — No Comments

Smart Grid needs a Facebook

We think we know how smart grid technology will change the utility industry. But do we really? Take a look at this documentary made in 1969. It’s a view of how the world perceived the coming Internet (It’s also a pretty amusing look at how sexist our society still was at that point.)…


Added by Elisa Wood on December 7, 2010 at 9:00am — No Comments

Renewable Energy Discussion on Arts Alive, etc!

Here is the audio from a radio show I did on 98.5 FM The Cat in Catskill, NY.

I appologize in advance for the horribly lo-tech slideshow!


Here's Part… Continue

Added by Mark Richardson on December 7, 2010 at 5:53am — No Comments

Electric Cars - Are They Really the Answer?

Have you noticed that there have been a lot of commercials about electric cars lately? Do you think that electric cars are really the answer to our energy issues and reliance on fossil fuels? I started to think about the process associated with electric vehicles and did some simple research. Following are some simple points to consider.

First let’s look at the manufacturing process. Vehicle parts are manufactured all over the world in…


Added by Jon LaMonte on December 3, 2010 at 8:00am — 5 Comments

Preventing Huge Holiday Electric Bills

It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is upon us. With Thanksgiving already in the shadows many people either have already or will soon set up their Christmas or other holiday decorations. Decorations are a great way to get into the season and spread cheer but they can also be a great way to increase electric bills. As Christmas trees and decorative lighting get plugged in electric bills go up. The exact amount the bills will increase depends on the lighting being used and how the… Continue

Added by Silas Inman on December 2, 2010 at 12:24pm — 4 Comments

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1 hour ago
Rod Fox replied to Rod Fox's discussion Utility Meter Accuracy
"Dennis, that's a ton of useful info and it will take me a bit to fully assimilate those…"
1 hour ago
Ben Haas replied to Rod Fox's discussion Utility Meter Accuracy
"Yup..... 1200 amp service to the compound.....  3 -400 amp panels, all single phase since 3…"
13 hours ago
Walter Ahlgrim replied to Rod Fox's discussion Utility Meter Accuracy
"The more I think about it if the problem cannot be the current transformers reading small loads,…"
18 hours ago
Dennis Heidner replied to Rod Fox's discussion Utility Meter Accuracy
"Note to readers 0.5A instead of 5A for reading with A/D.... the edit to correct that didn't…"
19 hours ago
Dennis Heidner replied to Rod Fox's discussion Utility Meter Accuracy
"Rod, I have some of the CT's that you referenced in the openenergymonitor system.  They…"
20 hours ago
Tauran Ivall replied to Tauran Ivall's discussion Energy Efficient Entry Door options out there?
"Graham, How did this Plasproinc door cost?  Do you have any photos you can share a link to?"
20 hours ago
Dennis Heidner replied to Rod Fox's discussion Utility Meter Accuracy
"1200A service... really?  or did you mean 200A.  That size service would likely result in…"
21 hours ago

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