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Recent Blogs
Simple Sales Strategies

Simple Sales Strategies

Mike Gorman

Everyone was seated waiting for the train to depart when vendor #1 stood at the front of the car and held up a familiar brand of chocolate candy bars announcing their price. Then he walked through the car and offered a candy bar to each of the passengers. I watched as he sold two candy bars in that group. [continue reading]

The Consequences of Flush Toilets

The Consequences of Flush Toilets

Shawna Henderson

So there's lots of excellent work and capacity building going on, and net zero energy, low energy, and high performance houses are being designed and built throughout North America. Innovation and forward thinking abound. It's all very exciting. But there's a place past which most builders, designers, and homeowners will not go: beyond low-flow plumbing fixtures, specifically toilets. Massive infrastructure has made it pretty convenient to not think about the consequences ... [continue reading]

Home Control or Automation?

Home Control or Automation?

Clint Stevens

I have been involved in home automation heavily over the last few years. At my home in Utah, I started by using a Mi Casa Verde and slowly moved over to SmartThings. The path has been long and hard, and littered with various devices, some of which are still in use. Belkin Wemo, Phillips Hue, Revolv, TCP bulbs, and Nest, along with several others make up the pack. Along the way, I’ve come ... [continue reading]

BPI Introduces New BPI.org for Consumers

BPI Introduces New BPI.org for Consumers

Leslie McDowell

The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) recently introduced www.bpi.org for consumers, a new interactive website designed to educate homeowners on the value of home performance energy upgrades and the quality of contractors who have earned the BPI GoldStar credential. [continue reading]

PHIUS to Launch North American Passive Building Standard at Event in Seattle

PHIUS to Launch North American Passive Building Standard at Event in Seattle

Mike Knezovich

The Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) recently announced that Executive Director Katrin Klingenberg will formally launch the new PHIUS+ 2015 passive building standard on March 25 at Seattle’s Bullitt Center. [continue reading]

Energy Code Enforcement is Part of the Foundation

Energy Code Enforcement is Part of the Foundation

Caitriona Cooke

Smart building design and construction professionals know that a building is more than a sum of its parts—it’s a complex system. For example, a poorly designed HVAC system can turn an otherwise efficient home into an energy hog. The understanding that a home is a complex system is reflected in today’s building codes, and proper compliance ensures that we’re building better energy performance into the process from ... [continue reading]

Why I Love Dumb, Passive Do-Nothing Houses

Why I Love Dumb, Passive Do-Nothing Houses

Shawna Henderson

I've had a decades-long love affair with dumb, passive houses. Passive. As in do-nothing. I love the design challenge of making do with the site and the microclimates that a house can be tucked into, the available solar gain, the building envelope. The minimal interjection of technology to maintain comfort has always been appealing to me, mainly because I'm selectively cheap and lazy. I don't want to do anything that costs ... [continue reading]

Join DOE for a Webinar on Home Energy Score

Join DOE for a Webinar on Home Energy Score

Joan Glickman

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced the release of a new online simulation tool that provides free, targeted training and testing to individuals interested in providing the Home Energy Score – a standard energy efficiency assessment and score generated only by qualifying professionals. The Home Energy Score Simulation Training (the Sim) lets candidates walk through different virtual homes with numerous combinations of energy-related characteristics. The Sim trains candidates on skills specifically required to ... [continue reading]

Water Heaters Get an Efficiency Makeover Courtesy of DOE

Water Heaters Get an Efficiency Makeover Courtesy of DOE

Marianne DiMascio

From the rustic 1850s pump shower to the 1920s Humphrey automatic to today’s modern units, water heaters have made great strides in performance and efficiency. On April 16, 2015, water heaters will take the next great stride when manufacturers must comply with new Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency standards. The most common water heaters manufactured on and after this date will get a modest boost in efficiency, while units over 55 ... [continue reading]

Number of Certified Passive House Square Meters Reaches One Million Mark

Number of Certified Passive House Square Meters Reaches One Million Mark

Benjamin Wünsch

Building owners throughout the world are increasingly turning to the Passive House standard. This past autumn, the number of square meters that have been certified internationally based on the highly efficient standard reached one million. The symbolic threshold was crossed with the certification of the Midori Haus in Santa Cruz, California. Almost 25 years after the construction of a prototype house in Darmstadt, tens of thousands of tenants and homeowners continue to benefit from the low ... [continue reading]

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