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Recent Blogs
May/June 2009 Editorial: Saving Home Energy After the Stimulus

May/June 2009 Editorial: Saving Home Energy After the Stimulus

Alan Meier

The residential energy business is scurrying around trying to digest the billions of dollars thrown at us to weatherize and reduce the energy use of our country’s homes.  Few of us, even in our wildest dreams, could have imagined the scenario unfolding in 2009. In the midst of trying to spend this money wisely, we also need to consider what will happen to the efficiency industry after the stimulus? I don’t ... [continue reading]

Turning Lemons Into Efficient, Affordable Homes

Turning Lemons Into Efficient, Affordable Homes

Jim Gunshinan

I'm in Kansas City at the annual national meeting of Affordable Comfort, Incorporated, (ACI), an organization that helps train weatherization technicians, energy auditors, and other home performance contractors. It's an exciting time to be in the field. While new housing is stalled in the United States, there is lots of funding-in the billions of dollars-on the way for weatherization, residential energy efficiency, and renewable energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. [continue reading]

ACI Home Performance Media Forum: Where are the HP Heroes?

ACI Home Performance Media Forum: Where are the HP Heroes?

Tom White, Publisher

At the ACI National Home Performance conference media forum tonight, panelist Henry Gifford spoke about the need to create media savvy home performance heroes that the public can identify with, along the lines of a Babe Ruth, Rosie the Riveter or Bill Gates.  Someone who can change the media's perspective on energy efficiency and motivate the young generation of green collar workers (and homeowners).  [continue reading]

March/April 2009 Editorial: How Private Should Utility Bills Be?

March/April 2009 Editorial: How Private Should Utility Bills Be?

Alan Meier

The cover of this issue depicts extraordinarily useful information: the homes whose attics are inadequately insulated. British residents can go onto the Web and find their homes—or their neighbors’ homes—to determine their thermal efficiency. [continue reading]

January/February 2009 Editorial: Now We Know the Value of Energy Star

January/February 2009 Editorial: Now We Know the Value of Energy Star

Alan Meier

The elections overshadowed a press release by Energy Star announcing a settlement with LG, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of appliances and consumer electronics. That’s a pity because the settlement sends an important message to manufacturers. It also reveals how valuable LG thinks the Energy Star endorsement actually is. [continue reading]

November/December 2008 Editorial: Heat Pump Water Heaters—Another Prius in the Basement?

November/December 2008 Editorial: Heat Pump Water Heaters—Another Prius in the Basement?

Alan Meier

It was good news to learn that Energy Star has finally announced specifications for water heaters. The specification for heat pump water heaters is particularly welcome, since these products have an unusually large savings potential. A heat pump water heater can reduce water-heating energy by half, which translates into over 1,500 kWh per year in many homes. Nearly 40% of American homes use electric water heaters, so the market is huge. This market is unlikely to be ... [continue reading]

September/October 2008 Editorial: Libertarian Paternalism  and Saving Energy

September/October 2008 Editorial: Libertarian Paternalism and Saving Energy

Alan Meier

 Remember the old TV show “Father Knows Best” from the mid 1950s? As with any TV sitcom, there were lots of jokes, funny dialogue, and plot twists often leading to difficult situations that needed working out. Of course, the one thing you could count on was Dad—played by Robert Young in the series—finding the solution, since he exemplified the paternalistic nature of American family life at that time. [continue reading]

July/August 2008 Editorial: Juneau Saves Electricity in a Hurry

July/August 2008 Editorial: Juneau Saves Electricity in a Hurry

Alan Meier

What do you do when the price of electricity suddenly jumps fivefold? This was the dilemma faced by the residents of Juneau, Alaska, when an avalanche suddenly cut the transmission line to their source of cheap hydropower. The answer is conserve, conserve, and (in case you weren’t paying attention), conserve. In only a few weeks, Juneau’s electricity consumption fell 30% (see Figure 1). This represents the largest and fastest regional reduction in electricity ... [continue reading]

One Part Perspiration, Five Parts Inspiration

One Part Perspiration, Five Parts Inspiration

Jim Gunshinan

ACI trains home performance professionals through national and regional conferences and through the Web. Last week I participated in my eighth ACI national conference. The annual conference is where I go to network; learn about all aspects of home performance; recruit authors for Home Energy Magazine; and best of all, be inspired. Here are a few of the people that I ran into last week who inspire me: Don Fugler does research through the Canada ... [continue reading]

May/June 2008 Editorial: Who Is Going to Build the Zero Energy Home?

May/June 2008 Editorial: Who Is Going to Build the Zero Energy Home?

Alan Meier

You could easily have overlooked a quiet change in recent statements by the world’s leading climate change researchers. Everyone knew that the goals set forth in the Kyoto Protocol were baby steps on the road to achieving much greater reductions in carbon emissions. Even though only a few countries—and the United States is not among them—will achieve those goals, plans for even greater reductions are under way. Now most ... [continue reading]

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