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Recent Blogs
March/April 2008 Editorial: Reflections on the Consumer Electronics Show

March/April 2008 Editorial: Reflections on the Consumer Electronics Show

Alan Meier

The 2008 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is already ancient history, and the 140,000 participants, TV cameras, and bloggers have returned home to quieter lives.  But it’s still worth reflecting on this most amazing assemblage of new products, trends, and controversies, all seen through the eyes of Home Energy. First, the name CES could sometimes have been taken to stand for Consumer Environment Show, Consumer Efficiency Show, and of course Consumer Energy Show.  Being ... [continue reading]

January/February 2008 Editorial: The Afterlife of a CFL

January/February 2008 Editorial: The Afterlife of a CFL

Alan Meier

The CFL is a poster child for energy efficiency but sometimes in ways that we might not want it to be.  To be sure, the CFL has a wonderful record of constantly improving quality, applicability, and reliability all the while falling in price. After faithfully saving consumers electricity for 6,000 hours, the CFL eventually flickers out and must be thrown away.  That’s where the adventure begins. CFLs contain minute amounts of mercury, ... [continue reading]

November/December 2007 Editorial: Energy Efficiency Pioneers

November/December 2007 Editorial: Energy Efficiency Pioneers

Alan Meier

OK, there’s a new energy-saving product on the market. It might even be the fruit of government-funded research. But it’s expensive and available from only a few, small manufacturers (or perhaps just one manufacturer).  The price would surely fall if economies of scale kick in.   But investors don’t understand the energy efficiency market and are reluctant to supply the needed capital.  Nothing happens. The country&... [continue reading]

Alaska Solar Question

Alaska Solar Question

Home Energy

Michele writes, "I live in rural Alaska where the cost of fuel is close to 5.00 per gallon for stove oil. I am thinking of switching to electrical heaters. Our house has a great southern exposure. Is there any small solar power equipment that could power a 1350 kw heater? Thanks." [continue reading]

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]

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