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Comfort: Undervalued, Misunderstood, Undersold

January/February 2009
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2009 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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January 03, 2009
What part of the word "comfort" doesn't the home performance industry understand? Most of it, says Tony Woods of ZERODRAFT.
I’ve been using the word “comfort” in my building envelope business for nearly 20 years, knowing comfort has a vital role to play in improving energy efficiency for my customers. It can also contribute to the current demand for more sustainable building. Energy efficiency means different things to different people. To those of us in the high-performance contracting industry, it is a service to sell. To the government, it is vital for national security and independence. For the average occupant or property manager, it is a way to save money. But too often, the one thing energy efficiency doesn’t mean is comfort. Yet the two are inseparable. And because awareness of the importance of energy-efficient homes and buildings seems to be at an all-time high, it’s an ideal time to talk about the importance of comfort to promoting better homes and buildings. Thanks to the energy crunch of the 1970s, people often equate energy efficiency with discomfort or compromise. Some might remember President Carter asking the nation to save energy—wearing a thick wool sweater while he did so. Not many people are willing to live in a freezing cold home in ...

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