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Recent Blogs
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]

WSU Soliciting Input on Round Robins for New and Existing Homes

WSU Soliciting Input on Round Robins for New and Existing Homes

Michael Lubliner

In 2010, Washington State University (WSU) conducted a survey to look at market-based residential energy audits as part of a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The results of that survey were published in the July/August 2013 issue of Home Energy magazine in an article titled “Past, Present, Future: Directions in Single-Family Energy Auditing and Retrofits.” The report on which the article is based provides a wealth of information related ... [continue reading]

DOE's Home Energy Score Helps Homeowners Evaluate Their Homes' Efficiency

DOE's Home Energy Score Helps Homeowners Evaluate Their Homes' Efficiency

Cortney Krauss

When you’re shopping for a car, what do you look for? How important is its aesthetic appeal, safety rating or fuel economy? Getting reliable information to make a decision is pretty simple—you can search online for the safety ratings and repair rates or talk to the dealer. If you care about gas costs and your carbon footprint, the MPG label shows how far a gallon of gas is likely to take ... [continue reading]

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]

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