Editorial: 'Home Energy' Joins the Home Performance Coalition Family
I am pleased to announce that Home Energy will join the Home Performance Coalition family. This is good news because it gives Home Energy greater access to a wider audience. It also makes the Home Performance Coalition stronger by giving it a familiar voice in the home performance community and in the larger world. Together, we expect to do new things that neither of us could do alone. You the reader can expect to see significant changes as Home Energy restructures to work in this new environment. Our core mission—that is, to provide reliable information to the home energy professional—will remain unchanged, but we’ll be doing more. There will be experiments, too, as we try to inform a wider audience. Your role will be to tell us what works (and what doesn’t).
Home Energy has served the community for over 30 years and will continue to do so. Still, it’s a chance to reflect on Home Energy’s life from birth to, well, adulthood. What are the key events and milestones? It’s easy to identify technological milestones. Home Energy appeared at the same time as the first CFL bulbs; they were an innovation compared to the guzzling incandescent bulbs, but LED lights arrived like a tsunami and with even greater energy impacts. Energy crises also serve as milestones, and these ranged from shortages of natural gas to the California electricity crisis to the Fukushima tragedy, each of which influenced home energy use in its own unique ways. Changing government administrations also make reasonable milestones, because each president has left his mark on energy efficiency policies. These appear as ebbs and flows of existing and new programs, efficiency standards, tax incentives and subsidies, and research. We’re waiting—and waiting—to see how President Trump will leave his mark on home energy. One year into the administration, “neglect” of home energy is the most optimistic description of President Trump’s actions (but “elimination” may be more accurate). This is especially sad because hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the California wildfires have created an enormous opportunity for efficiency upgrades during the rebuilding.
However, the most important milestone is actually a transformation. For many homes, we can now look beyond simply reducing energy use to supplying energy into the grid. Not every roof can carry a collector—existing homes are especially challenging—but enough of them can to change our perspective. This transformation became possible only after widespread improvements in energy efficiency were achieved. Few homes have enough roof area to power refrigerators if they still used 2,000 kWh (as they did when Home Energy started business), and if incandescent bulbs provided all the light. The net zero energy home is a game changer. It also expands the opportunities in improve other aspects of home performance, such as air quality and comfort.
These are exciting times for the home performance community, and Home Energy will help you to make the best of them.
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