With the Google buyout of NEST thermostats, attention has turned from the “smart meter” to the thermostat as a focal point of residential energy efficiency. (Read this recent editorial by Alan Meier.) But several years ago Energy Star decided…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on March 6, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments
If we want to make good, or great, home performance a reality for more people and families across North America, we must come to some agreement on standard retrofit packages that work. Not every house is the same, but we can agree on standards that can be widely, quickly, and efficiently applied to similar housing types. The home performance community has more than three decades of experience to bear on the question. Please add your voice to the discussion.
Join Scott Yee, PARR;…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on March 4, 2014 at 11:35am — No Comments
Here is the offending thermostat. Check out the mercury switch under the dial! Thank goodness we don't make them the way we used to…Continue
I worked as a janitor at St. Camillus elementary school after school and in the summers when I was in high school. I enjoyed the camaraderie with the other high school kids I worked with, and the crusty Dutch man who was our boss. We cleaned every afternoon in the school year and on weekends, and then painted, cut the grass, and did maintenance on the heating system and other equipment in the summer. We took pride in our work, but we also had fun—once in a while playing a game…
I was reviewing an article in Home Energy by Steve Mann that came out in the January/February issue (“DOE’s Challenge Home,” p. 6). He wrote on the latest iteration of DOE’s Challenge Home Program. Steve points out, in his usual insightful and articulate way, what he sees as the strengths and weakness of this program. I hope you’ve read it, or will read it. Send us your comments by email, or on the Home Energy website.
Reading Steve’s article made me think, “Wow, do…Continue
On November 1, 2013, Home Energy began its 30th year in existence. The story telling will begin officially in our January/February 2014 issue, when, along with a lot of new content and some new features, we reprise an article from our first issue—on the energy efficient use of water beds! Unofficially, the storytelling has already begun.
Home Energy began in an office at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a few years ago we moved our shop down the hill to West…Continue
Home Energy authors and Cornell College of Human Ecology professors Joe Laquatra and Mark Pierce and colleagues provide important information for anyone interested in energy efficient and healthy homes. In this issue they cover the presence of dangerous levels of radon in natural gas extracted through…Continue
When I was still active as a minister in the Catholic Church, I did not enjoy very much presiding at weddings. I had an inkling of the reason at the time, but now I can admit clearly that I was jealous. I didn’t want to bless someone else’s sacramental union as much as I wanted to be in a sacramental union.
I had another, similar insight while participating in an Emerge workshop last weekend. Emerge is a leadership program…Continue
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) was budgeted $2.5-billion by Congress in 2013. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) was allowed $68-million. Does anyone see a contradiction here?
LIHEAP provides, primarily, emergency help for households who can’t afford to heat their homes in the winter or cool their homes in the summer. It saves the health and sometimes the lives of vulnerable people. It’s a great program. But it is designed to provide help during…Continue
Last evening my wife Michele and I walked a few blocks from the hotel in Phoenix where the National Association of State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) is holding it’s Annual Training Conference, to an Open Market. There were a circle of food trucks and tables offering fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 12, 2013 at 11:50am — No Comments
Just read a book about the work of an environmental mediator, Lucy Moore, Common Ground on Hostile Turf: Stories from an Environmental Mediator (Island Press). What I liked most about this book was that it was a series of ten stories. There…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on August 12, 2013 at 11:30am — No Comments
Used car salesmen get a bad rap, and there are good reasons for that. But I think the home performance community can learn from them in some important ways. I say that as someone who once had a serious case of buyer’s remorse, but got over it.
When I first moved to California I was working at an independent bookstore in Berkeley, and I liked the idea of not having a car. But after a year I realized that I couldn’t get everywhere I wanted to go in a timely manner on BART (Bay…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on August 5, 2013 at 3:30pm — No Comments
Want to know why air travel is still, by far, the safest way to go? Do you want to know how hospitals around the world can cut the risk of post-surgical complications and death by more than half? Do you wonder why the greatest triumphs of engineering, buildings and infrastructure, are beautiful, as well as safe and functional? The answer is checklists. I was inspired by this simple and powerful tool after reading The Checklist…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on July 24, 2013 at 4:00pm — No Comments
I try to avoid generalizations, especially the gross kind, but sometimes you have to climb up on the mountain to get the big picture.
My wife and I were recently discussing the cover story in the May 20, 2013 Time magazine called “Millennials’ Moment”. The subtitle is “They’re…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on June 25, 2013 at 1:00pm — No Comments
New Study: "Impact of LEED-Certified Affordable Housing on Asthma in the South Bronx"
Here is more evidence that the occupants of energy efficient, healthy, and affordable housing enjoy better health compared to those in traditional low-income housing. The results of an in-depth study by Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City of residents who recently moved into LEED-certified low-income multifamily housing showed:
Added by Jim Gunshinan on June 20, 2013 at 5:00pm — No Comments
Changing one’s daily routine and making big decisions about money is hard. When a home performance contractor asks a customer to consider an audit, they are asking a lot. Besides the cost of the audit and any retrofit measures the homeowner chooses to pay for, which is probably the biggest challenge, there is also the inconvenience. The audit and retrofit may require the homeowner to take time off from work. Having workers climb in and out of the attic, under the crawlspace, and drill holes…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on May 28, 2013 at 2:37pm — No Comments
The late poet and political activist Muriel Rukeyser famously said, The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms. It’s not just words that make up stories. A scientific equation is a story, and so is getting up from my seat and stretching—it’s the story of back care for an editor. We can tell a story with the expression on our faces. What does it tell you when a loved one rolls her eyes at you, or blows you a kiss? How do you feel when a stranger winks at you? Flips you the bird? That last…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on May 17, 2013 at 11:30am — No Comments
When the lights went out at the New Orleans Superdome during the Super Bowl last month, I was strangely reminded of a little known religious ceremony of the Catholic Church. The ceremony is called Tenebrae, from the Latin for “darkness” or “shadows”. It takes place late on Holy Thursday, when…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on February 15, 2013 at 2:30pm — No Comments
A building is not sacred. A church or a temple, no matter how old, or big, or beautiful, by itself is not sacred. It’s the attitude of the people and the things that people do in a building that make it sacred or not. I have met many people in the home performance field who quietly go about the work of…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on January 11, 2013 at 4:00pm — No Comments
It was my first weatherization conference since becoming the editor of Home Energy. I remember sitting in the crowd listening to the opening speaker and being very inspired. We’re soldiers, I thought. Some of us are on the front lines—the weatherization workers—and some of us, like the staff at Home Energy, offer support from the safety of our offices in Berkeley. We are fighting for our nation’s energy security, and for the health of children and adults, and for the survival…Continue
Added by Jim Gunshinan on October 17, 2012 at 3:00pm — No Comments