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Recent Blogs
May/June 2010 Editorial: Targeting the High Users

May/June 2010 Editorial: Targeting the High Users

Alan Meier

Photo by Jovan Peric - Fotolia.com Homes with high energy consumption are likely to provide us more opportunities to save energy. If that’s true, then why don’t we see more programs and businesses geared toward the high users? [continue reading]

2010 Home Energy Guide to Training Programs Online

2010 Home Energy Guide to Training Programs Online

Leslie Jackson

Home Energy magazine’s Annual Training Guide for Home Performance Professionals--published in past years in print and as a downloadable PDF on our Web site--is now perpetual. And searchable. Every two years, we have published a resource of training programs in the United States and Canada, connecting trainers to students. Last year, the Guide went from a list with a short description of each trainer organization and its offerings, to a grid, showing ... [continue reading]

Green Building: Surprising Lessons Learned

Green Building: Surprising Lessons Learned

Leslie Jackson

The nice thing about TED talks is that they are efficiently presented, compressing information into a few stimulating moments. [continue reading]

Sqeezing More Energy From the Sun

Sqeezing More Energy From the Sun

Jim Gunshinan

Scientists are figuring out how to squeeze more electricity out of photovoltaic (PV) panels. PV panels take the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity. The sun’s energy is abundant, but in order for solar electricity to compete with cheaper forms of electricity, such as that produced from highly polluting coal-fired power plants, PV panels have to be more efficient. And they need to be cheaper. Higher efficiency gets you more ... [continue reading]

What Went Wrong in Haiti?

What Went Wrong in Haiti?

Jim Gunshinan

Like a lot of people, I’ve been thinking about the devastation from the earthquake in Haiti, seeing images of collapsed buildings and dead people on the news and in the newspapers. I wonder why less than a hundred people in the Bay Area died in the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, and perhaps as many as 200,000 have died from the earthquake last month in Haiti. The Transamerica Building in downtown San Francisco swayed about ... [continue reading]

March/April 2010 Editorial: Home Energy Monitors

March/April 2010 Editorial: Home Energy Monitors

Alan Meier

Home Energy Monitors, that is, devices that display a home’s energy consumption have been touted as Silicon Valley’s contribution to the national energy conservation effort. A Home Energy Monitor (or HEM) constantly informs the occupants of their home’s electricity and gas consumption, along with conversions to monthly costs and comparisons with previous periods. Some models can (or will) communicate with heating and air conditioning systems. These devices will enable ... [continue reading]

Response, Recovery, Rebuild

Response, Recovery, Rebuild

Leslie Jackson

The three R's after any disaster are: Response, Recovery & Rebuild. Response is the first few days, as rescue workers try their best and aid begins arriving. Recovery is the next few weeks, as aid gets out into the field, roads get cleared, water and electricity is restored, sewers are fixed, and temporary accommodation built. But the biggest challenge is the long rebuild which can take months and years, and usually takes place when ... [continue reading]

Interview: Living in Place with Larry Taff

Interview: Living in Place with Larry Taff

Leslie Jackson

Larry Taff heads TZ of Madison, Inc., a long-time family business that performs remodels on homes with a much needed twist. His excellent designs and up-to-date knowledge of residential energy efficiency help aging people whose requirements are changing stay in their homes longer.  TZ of Madison won also won the NARI of Madison Contractor of the Year Award for the Universal Design category for the 2nd year in a row. Larry will be speaking ... [continue reading]

Concrete Home: To Insulate or Outsulate?

Concrete Home: To Insulate or Outsulate?

Leslie Jackson

Yesterday, we got a letter from Martha: "We are in Texas. We have an all concrete home made of blocks and concrete roof. How can we insulate it? The home is about 2000 sq ft. And we cannot get it warm or cool enough with a new 5-ton central AC unit. Please help. [continue reading]

January/February 2010: LEDs: Avoiding the CFL Debacle

January/February 2010: LEDs: Avoiding the CFL Debacle

Alan Meier

The lighting efficacies of LEDs have been rising steadily and are poised to overtake CFLs. Fluorescents and CFLs still outshine LEDs with respect to general applications and cost of light, but LEDs are already superior for some niche applications and offer many new exciting illumination opportunities. Now we need to ensure that the reputation of this new energysaving lighting source won’t be undermined by a tidal wave of shoddy products. Tests for quality, ... [continue reading]

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