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Recent Blogs
This is the Future

This is the Future

Macie Melendez

Today the opening ceremony kicked off the Solar Decathlon in sunny Irvine, California. While the crowd listened to the major sponsors of the event welcome us, we heard excitement and anticipation in their voices. After all, this has been an event two years in the making. [continue reading]

Hawaii Races to the Top for Award in Energy and Water Efficiency

Hawaii Races to the Top for Award in Energy and Water Efficiency

Kate Zerrenner

Hawaii recently topped the national rankings for energy saving initiatives for the second year in a row. In August, the Energy Services Coalition (ESC) granted the state its ‘Race to the Top’ award for modeling excellence in energy and water efficiency. ESC’s Race to the Top challenge ranks states based on investment per capita in energy savings performance contracting. Hawaii leads with $132.25 per capita, followed by Ohio with $108.58 and Kansas with $97.77. ... [continue reading]

Boise Organizations Partner to Give Homebuyers Looks, Function, and Affordability

Boise Organizations Partner to Give Homebuyers Looks, Function, and Affordability

Macie Melendez

The common wisdom in the housing industry is that custom homes are expensive, and custom green homes are even more so. But several Boise-based organizations have teamed up to prove the common wisdom is wrong—and to set up a pilot project to provide Idahoans with affordable, eco-friendly homes within the city limits. [continue reading]

Do We Give People Energy or Help Them to Save It?

Do We Give People Energy or Help Them to Save It?

Jim Gunshinan

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? [continue reading]

Helping Your Clients Understand Energy-Efficient Windows

Helping Your Clients Understand Energy-Efficient Windows

Michael Joseph

High-performance windows come in a variety of designs and offer multiple benefits to consumers. The term “energy-efficient” has become an integral part of the homebuilding industry but it’s a term that can be confusing to homeowners who don’t do enough research on either new or replacement windows. [continue reading]

About Fry Bread and Hope for a Greener Planet

About Fry Bread and Hope for a Greener Planet

Jim Gunshinan

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 its Annual Training Conference, to an Open Market. There were a circle of food trucks and tables offering fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables around a covered parking lot with tables and chairs. We picked a food truck offering Mexican and Native American food and bought our ... [continue reading]

Notes from Phoenix and the National Association of State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) Conference

Notes from Phoenix and the National Association of State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) Conference

Jim Gunshinan

While the weather is cool compared to normal in this part of the Sonoran Desert, the talk at the NASCSP Conference has been hot with passion and purpose. Clarence Carter, Director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, and formerly of the Bush Administration, spoke at the Conference Opening from his long years of experience and wisdom gained.   “The safety net doesn’t really exist,” he says. In Washington D.C. ... [continue reading]

Rating on a Passive House Scale

Rating on a Passive House Scale

Macie Melendez

I’m going to throw a pretty wild idea out there: What if Passive House was a scaled rating? As it stands now, a home is either a Passive House or it’s not. It’s black and white. You have to meet the Passive House standards (an airtight building shell ≤ 0.6 ACH @50 Pa, an annual heat requirement ≤ 4.75 kBtu/sf/yr, and primary energy use ≤ 38.1 kBtu/sf/yr), or the ... [continue reading]

The Potential of Zero

The Potential of Zero

Dan Smith

This is a short story about a little house in a parking lot and the educational potential of 960 square feet. The project was conceived and created to give students a place for blower door training and ended up a fully integrated green structure that was dedicated during the grand opening ceremony by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee.  [continue reading]

Better Buildings: Better Business Conference Update

Better Buildings: Better Business Conference Update

Macie Melendez

Just before the Energy Center of Wisconsin expanded their Better Buildings: Better Business Conference to include the state of Illinois in 2012, we spoke with John Viner of the Energy Center about the conference. His then-new position as the Interim Education Director had him less involved in conference content development, but now, as the Senior Project Manager, he’s “back enjoying more time applied to designing educational events.” [continue reading]

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