Alan Meier

Alan Meier is senior executive editor of Home Energy.

Articles By Author
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Editorial: Milk, Melons, and Smaller Refrigerators

Author: Alan Meier
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January 01, 2006

        One seemingly irreversible trend in American homes is the growing refrigerator. This is particularly puzzling because the average household size is shrinking. What do people put in there? We ... [continue reading]

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Editorial: The Next Big Thing

Author: Alan Meier
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March 02, 2006

        I am sometimes asked what I believe will be the next new use of energy or the next big efficiency measure. I made a couple of lucky calls in ... [continue reading]

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Cooking with Less Gas

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May 01, 2001

Microwave ovens, when they're on, stack up well against traditional ovens. [continue reading]

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Standby for Set-Top Boxes

Author: Alan Meier
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November 01, 2001

        Set-top boxes have the highest standby power consumption found in home appliances. Thanks to the upcoming change to digital TV formats,many consumers will be forced to either purchase ... [continue reading]

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Editorial: That 3,000-Lb Gorilla in the Garage

Author: Alan Meier
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September 11, 2006

        With high gasoline prices, one’s attention naturally turns to that thirsty, 3,000-lb gorilla in the garage: the car. But how does gasoline consumption compare to the energy ... [continue reading]

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Editorial: Surprising Turnabout at Energy Star

Author: Alan Meier
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March 10, 2007

For the first time, Energy Star is decertifying an entire category of product—the programmable thermostat—because it doesn’t reliably save energy (see “Energy Star Changes Approach to Programmable Thermostats,&... [continue reading]

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Editorial: My House of the Future?

Author: Alan Meier
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May 06, 2007

Nothing frightens me more than those model “homes of the future.” I recently visited one of them—the “ConnectedLife” home—at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. ... [continue reading]

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Editorial: Getting the Price Right

Author: Alan Meier
premium CONTENT
July 01, 2007

Some people claim that most of our inefficient use of energy will disappear once we “get the price right”— that is, that the price reflects the true costs of supplying that energy.&... [continue reading]

Blogs By Author
March/April 2007 Editorial: Surprising Turnabout at Energy Star

March/April 2007 Editorial: Surprising Turnabout at Energy Star

Alan Meier

For the first time, Energy Star is decertifying an entire category of product—the programmable thermostat—because it doesn’t reliably save energy (see “Energy Star Changes Approach to Programmable Thermostats,” p. 10). Field studies in diverse climates demonstrated that homes with programmable thermostats used no less—and often more— energy than similar homes without the smart thermostats.  As a result, the programmable thermostat will no longer receive ... [continue reading]

September/October 2007 Editorial: The Rising Cost of Home Energy

September/October 2007 Editorial: The Rising Cost of Home Energy

Alan Meier

Yes, the price of a subscription to Home Energy is rising. Home Energy is published by a non-profit organization, but our costs are nevertheless inescapably climbing.  You can mitigate the personal impact of the increase by committing yourself to a longer subscription.  You will appreciate that because it means skipping the nuisance of renewing.  We like those longer subscriptions too because we spend less money servicing the subscription and can devote more ... [continue reading]

July/August 2007 Editorial: Getting the Price Right

July/August 2007 Editorial: Getting the Price Right

Alan Meier

Some people claim that most of our inefficient use of energy will disappear once we “get the price right”— that is, that the price reflects the true costs of supplying that energy.  I agree that the price is important, but even when the price is right, the system may still be broken.  Here are a few examples. More than one-fourth of all refrigerators are purchased by people who will not ... [continue reading]

November/December 2007 Editorial: Energy Efficiency Pioneers

November/December 2007 Editorial: Energy Efficiency Pioneers

Alan Meier

OK, there’s a new energy-saving product on the market. It might even be the fruit of government-funded research. But it’s expensive and available from only a few, small manufacturers (or perhaps just one manufacturer).  The price would surely fall if economies of scale kick in.   But investors don’t understand the energy efficiency market and are reluctant to supply the needed capital.  Nothing happens. The country&... [continue reading]

January/February 2008 Editorial: The Afterlife of a CFL

January/February 2008 Editorial: The Afterlife of a CFL

Alan Meier

The CFL is a poster child for energy efficiency but sometimes in ways that we might not want it to be.  To be sure, the CFL has a wonderful record of constantly improving quality, applicability, and reliability all the while falling in price. After faithfully saving consumers electricity for 6,000 hours, the CFL eventually flickers out and must be thrown away.  That’s where the adventure begins. CFLs contain minute amounts of mercury, ... [continue reading]

March/April 2008 Editorial: Reflections on the Consumer Electronics Show

March/April 2008 Editorial: Reflections on the Consumer Electronics Show

Alan Meier

The 2008 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is already ancient history, and the 140,000 participants, TV cameras, and bloggers have returned home to quieter lives.  But it’s still worth reflecting on this most amazing assemblage of new products, trends, and controversies, all seen through the eyes of Home Energy. First, the name CES could sometimes have been taken to stand for Consumer Environment Show, Consumer Efficiency Show, and of course Consumer Energy Show.  Being ... [continue reading]

May/June 2008 Editorial: Who Is Going to Build the Zero Energy Home?

May/June 2008 Editorial: Who Is Going to Build the Zero Energy Home?

Alan Meier

You could easily have overlooked a quiet change in recent statements by the world’s leading climate change researchers. Everyone knew that the goals set forth in the Kyoto Protocol were baby steps on the road to achieving much greater reductions in carbon emissions. Even though only a few countries—and the United States is not among them—will achieve those goals, plans for even greater reductions are under way. Now most ... [continue reading]

July/August 2008 Editorial: Juneau Saves Electricity in a Hurry

July/August 2008 Editorial: Juneau Saves Electricity in a Hurry

Alan Meier

What do you do when the price of electricity suddenly jumps fivefold? This was the dilemma faced by the residents of Juneau, Alaska, when an avalanche suddenly cut the transmission line to their source of cheap hydropower. The answer is conserve, conserve, and (in case you weren’t paying attention), conserve. In only a few weeks, Juneau’s electricity consumption fell 30% (see Figure 1). This represents the largest and fastest regional reduction in electricity ... [continue reading]

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