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Recent Blogs
Build Light

Build Light

Kevin Beck

After I hung up my tool belt from contracting after 25 years, I had an itch to teach others what I knew and had learned—good and bad. I was eventually hired by a small but effective non-profit in San Francisco called Build It Green. They had a green building professional certification program for builders and industry professionals as well as a pretty darn good green labeling program. [continue reading]

Making Energy Efficiency Sexy, or at Least Interesting

Making Energy Efficiency Sexy, or at Least Interesting

Jim Gunshinan

I was reading my local newspaper and a photo showing a man and his electric bill caught my attention. His electric bill was more than $7,000. Was this a case of a power company screwing over a customer, I wondered? Then I read the story. It got more interesting. [continue reading]

Making the Invisible Visible: Valuing Energy Efficiency Improvements in a Real Estate Transaction

Making the Invisible Visible: Valuing Energy Efficiency Improvements in a Real Estate Transaction

Melissa Ulbricht

Often, when homeowners make improvements to an existing house, the most important aspects of home performance—including safety, comfort, energy efficiency, durability, and environmental impact—are literally invisible during key steps of any home sale or refinance transaction. [continue reading]

Act Now to Save Water and Energy

Act Now to Save Water and Energy

Jim Gunshinan

The International Code Council is in the process of developing the 2015 codes. A large number of code change proposals will be considered at the Final Action Hearing, which is being held at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The FAH is scheduled to begin on October 2 and conclude by October 10, 2013. For more information go to www.iccsafe.org. [continue reading]

Mentoring—The Importance and Necessity of Passing On Skills and Knowledge

Mentoring—The Importance and Necessity of Passing On Skills and Knowledge

Kevin Beck

When I was a 12-year-old-boy growing up in southern California I spent most of my free time working at the family-owned lumber and hardware store that my grandmother had started in 1920. While my friends were out riding their bikes or heading to the beach to flirt with girls under the warm So-Cal sun, I was driving a forklift unloading trucks and placing the units of lumber in neat stacks one atop the other in our ... [continue reading]

What Sustainability Really Means

What Sustainability Really Means

Jim Gunshinan

I 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 is a kind of summary chapter at the end, but I think you can skip it. [continue reading]

Drawing the Line: Home Performance Versus HVAC Specialists?

Drawing the Line: Home Performance Versus HVAC Specialists?

Jason Wall

At one point not too long ago, it felt like the HVAC contractor community was strictly against the home performance community. One wanted to improve our home’s energy efficiency without sacrificing our climate control needs—and the other? They wanted to sell expensive metal boxes and scramble for the door before clients saw their energy bills come in. And that’s how the story went for some time. [continue reading]

ACCA Standards

ACCA Standards "Home Evaluation and Performance Improvement" Out for Public Review

Jim Gunshinan

The Air Conditioning Contractors of America Educational Institute (ACCA-EI) Standards Task Team (STT) announces an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) public review period for its BSR/ACCA 12 QH -201x, "Home Evaluation and Performance Improvement" as a revised industry standard. The 45 day public review period started on July 19, 2013 with a comment deadline of September 2, 2013.   This revised standard provides minimum criteria by which deficiencies in existing residential buildings are identified by audit, improvement opportunities are ... [continue reading]

A Housing Recovery, but Not for All Americans

A Housing Recovery, but Not for All Americans

Kerry Donahue

Driven by rising home prices and growing demand, the U.S. housing recovery is well underway, concludes The State of the Nation’s Housing report released recently by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. While still at historically low levels, housing construction has finally turned the corner, giving the economy a much-needed boost. But even as the recovery gains momentum, millions of homeowners are still delinquent on their mortgages or owe ... [continue reading]

Be a Little Like a Used Car Salesperson

Be a Little Like a Used Car Salesperson

Jim Gunshinan

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. [continue reading]

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