New and Notable

February 29, 2012
March/April 2012
A version of this article appears in the March/April 2012 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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CertainTeed Introduces New Apollo Solar Roofing

In October 2011, CertainTeed Corporation introduced its new Apollo Solar Roofing System at the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild Expo. “Building upon the launch of CertainTeed’s EnerGen photovoltaic system in 2010, Apollo is our latest solar roofing system that offers exceptional performance, ergonomics, and design aesthetics,” says Tom Smith, president of CertainTeed Roofing.

Apollo Solar Roofing Apollo Solar Roofing installed on a home. (CertainTeed)

Apollo can be installed either by integrating it into an existing roof, or by installing a new roof that combines solar panels and asphalt shingles. Unlike rack-mounted solar systems, Apollo fully integrates with roofing shingles for a seamless appearance. Each slim, 12-lb module features 14 high-efficiency polycrystalline silicon solar cells that absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. The lightweight design of the module does not require structural reinforcement or evaluation.

The Apollo system is offered in kits containing all components necessary for installation. Apollo modules are class A fire-rated and meet UL 1703 requirements.

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For more information on CertainTeed Corporation, visit

Apollo Solar Roofing qualifies for a 30% federal tax credit and may be eligible for some of the state rebates and incentives listed at


German Car Labels

Germany has extended its requirement for colored Efficiency Labels on products to now include cars. The labels, from either the European Union or the German government, require that all new cars must prominently display the label, which rates CO2 emissions and fuel requirements. A color scale rates the CO2 emissions from green at the top, meaning very good, through yellow to orange to red at the bottom, meaning very poor. An arrow shows where on this scale the vehicle stands. The tax, which all car owners must pay, is based on the CO2 emissions. The more there are, the higher the tax will be, and the color scale makes it easy for a shopper to compare different cars.

—Ted Shoemaker

Ted Shoemaker is a now-retired writer and editor based in Frankfurt, Germany.


Putting Sense into Water Use

Residential outdoor water use in the United States accounts for more than 7 billion gallons of water each day, mainly for landscape irrigation. Experts estimate that as much as 50% of this water is wasted due to overwatering caused by inefficiencies in irrigation methods and systems. Existing irrigation control technologies can significantly reduce overwatering by applying water only when plants need it.

EPA’s WaterSense program has released a final specification for weather-based irrigation controllers, making them the first outdoor product category eligible to earn the WaterSense label. Manufacturers of these products can now begin the testing and certification process, and WaterSense-labeled controllers could be available this spring.

Weather-based irrigation controllers use local weather data to tailor irrigation schedules to actual site conditions. WaterSense-labeled models will be independently certified to meet EPA’s water efficiency and performance criteria, ensuring that they can meet the water needs of the plants without overwatering.

“As much as half of the water we use on our landscapes goes to waste due to evaporation, wind, and improperly scheduled irrigation systems,” says Sheila Frace, director of the EPA Office of Water’s Municipal Support Division. “WaterSense-labeled irrigation controllers are designed to do the thinking for you and apply water only when needed.”

This latest WaterSense specification reflects four years of work among EPA and controller manufacturers, water utilities, irrigation industry representatives, and other stakeholders. The specification includes both residential and commercial irrigation system applications, and it requires such supplemental features as the ability to accommodate local watering restrictions. Performance criteria were based on the Smart Water Application Technologies (SWAT) protocol, and research from the University of Florida supported development of the specification.

Like any other “smart” innovation, WaterSense irrigation controllers must be properly installed, programmed, and maintained for best performance. WaterSense irrigation partners are trained and certified in water-efficient practices and are available to design, install, audit, and maintain irrigation systems for peak efficiency.

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For more information about the WaterSense spec for weather-based irrigation controllers, go to


P.E.A.C.E., Inc., Receives NYSERDA Achievement Awards

In mid-December of 2011, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recognized eight engineering firms and community service agencies, including People’s Equal Action and Community Effort (P.E.A.C.E., Inc.) of Syracuse, for their outstanding energy-saving projects through the authority’s Multifamily Performance Program (MPP).

Partners in the program—energy professionals focused on improving multifamily building performance—earned the awards for projects that exceeded the MPP minimum energy savings target of 15%. The projects demonstrate efforts to support New York’s electricity and fuel reduction goals.

“Multifamily buildings are large users of energy, and therefore there are many opportunities to implement energy savings measures,” says Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA. P.E.A.C.E., Inc., was honored in the Outstanding Savings Award category for exceptional savings in the retrofit of an existing building complex. It earned a bronze award for the Grant Village apartments energy efficiency project in Syracuse. The project reduced energy use by 25% and reduced costs by $268,658 annually through upgrades to boilers, attic insulation, apartment entrance fixtures, kitchen lighting, bedroom fixtures, CFLs, and CO detectors.

P.E.A.C.E., Inc. was also honored with a gold Partner Excellence Award for the highest actual energy savings for three completed existing projects: Grant Village (25% savings); DC West Carthage Associates (44% savings); and DC Carthage Associates (43% savings). The last two are affordable apartment complexes in Carthage, New York. Collectively, the three projects are saving $411,648 in energy costs annually.

The objective of each project is to maximize energy efficiency in multifamily buildings to lower energy costs while improving the health and comfort of residents. With a portfolio of programs and incentives, the MPP gives owners, condo and co-op boards, and developers access to NYSERDA, including technical assistance, funding, and low-cost financing to implement energy efficiency measures.

Other partners in the MPP that won awards include Buffalo Energy, Incorporated, Buffalo; C.J. Brown Energy, P.C., Buffalo; L&S Energy Services, Albany; Steven Winter Associates, Incorporated, New York City; Malcarne Contracting, Incorporated, Hudson Valley; Community Environmental Center, New York City; and Association for Energy Affordability, New York City.

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For more information about the MPP, visit

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