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Recent Blogs
Who controls your thermostat?

Who controls your thermostat?

Home Energy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star program has promoted programmable thermostats since 1995, estimating that consumers will save 10%-30% on their heating and cooling energy bills. Consumers who can accurately predict when they will be home, and who find it difficult to remember to set up their thermostat in the summer or set back their thermostat in the winter manually, can save energy with a programmable thermostat. [continue reading]

September/October 2007 Editorial: The Rising Cost of Home Energy

September/October 2007 Editorial: The Rising Cost of Home Energy

Alan Meier

Yes, the price of a subscription to Home Energy is rising. Home Energy is published by a non-profit organization, but our costs are nevertheless inescapably climbing.  You can mitigate the personal impact of the increase by committing yourself to a longer subscription.  You will appreciate that because it means skipping the nuisance of renewing.  We like those longer subscriptions too because we spend less money servicing the subscription and can devote more ... [continue reading]

Horsing Around for the Home Planet

Horsing Around for the Home Planet

Jim Gunshinan

A friend who is an aficionado of classical music described rock and roll as “a man who got on his horse and rode off in all directions." In my version of the saying, about climate change and our dependence on fossil fuels, I think we all need to get on our horses and ride off in all directions. Gov. Schwartzenegger has pushed a number of initiatives in California and all of them are ... [continue reading]

July/August 2007 Editorial: Getting the Price Right

July/August 2007 Editorial: Getting the Price Right

Alan Meier

Some people claim that most of our inefficient use of energy will disappear once we “get the price right”— that is, that the price reflects the true costs of supplying that energy.  I agree that the price is important, but even when the price is right, the system may still be broken.  Here are a few examples. More than one-fourth of all refrigerators are purchased by people who will not ... [continue reading]

May/June 2007 Editorial: My House of the Future?

May/June 2007 Editorial: My House of the Future?

Home Energy

Nothing frightens me more than those model “homes of the future.” I recently visited one of them—the “ConnectedLife” home—at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The ConnectedLife concept is a joint creation of Microsoft, HP, LifeWare, and many others; the ConnectedLife hardware and software is available at Best Buy. The home sported all of the features that you would expect from these companies: coordination of ... [continue reading]

Combating Sneaky Electricity Consumers

Combating Sneaky Electricity Consumers

Mary James

You bought the new computer for yourself, the game module for your kids, those great new lamps that really brighten up the living room; then, one day you noticed your utility bill had really jumped.  Using less heat and shivering through November didn’t cut it. Welcome to the brave new world of energy use in your home.  Traditionally, heating and cooling, along with water heating, have consumed most of the energy ... [continue reading]

Looking for Jamb Liners

Looking for Jamb Liners

Home Energy

I am  looking to purchase window jamb liners that I can install. We are building an addition and using old wooden windows - we were going to install weights, but I saw a project on DIYNET that used jamb lines in old windows. Does anyone know where I can purchase the jamb liners? Thanks. -Margie & Paul Strickland [continue reading]

Energy Star Partner of the Year Awards

Energy Star Partner of the Year Awards

Home Energy

On March 21, the EPA and the DOE honored businesses and organizations for their outstanding contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency at the 2007 ENERGY STAR Awards ceremony. EPA introduced the Energy Star program in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased energy efficiency. Today, in partnership with DOE, the program offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy, money and help protect the environment for future generations. ... [continue reading]

March/April 2007 Editorial: Surprising Turnabout at Energy Star

March/April 2007 Editorial: Surprising Turnabout at Energy Star

Alan Meier

For the first time, Energy Star is decertifying an entire category of product—the programmable thermostat—because it doesn’t reliably save energy (see “Energy Star Changes Approach to Programmable Thermostats,” p. 10). Field studies in diverse climates demonstrated that homes with programmable thermostats used no less—and often more— energy than similar homes without the smart thermostats.  As a result, the programmable thermostat will no longer receive ... [continue reading]

Off-the-Grid Power Consumption

Off-the-Grid Power Consumption

Home Energy

Question for the Editors Could you please answer a question for me? Living off the "grid", am I better off using flourecent 12 volt dc lights or 120 volt ac flourecent lights through my inverter? Ohm's law seems to say I will use less power through the inverter, with a 26 watt 120 volt light using .2166 amps with a .5 amp inverter draw for a total of .7166 amps, and a 26 watt 12 volt DC light drawing 2.166 Amps. Somehow logic ... [continue reading]

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