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10 Ways To Do The Right Thing

Posted by Macie Schreibman on August 18, 2011
10 Ways To Do The Right Thing

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of visiting the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to listen to a seminar given by Jeremy Fisher and Brennan Less, two research assistants in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division. The seminar, “Residential Deep Energy Retrofits: Monitoring and Performance of 10 California Case Study Homes,” described the current findings of their research—one year after deep retrofits to 10 California homes.

As the crowed gathered in Building 90 of the lab, I was anxious to hear how the venture had been progressing as I had corresponded with the researchers a month or so prior about presenting their findings in a Home Energy article (to which they agreed). 

Jeremy and Brennan began the presentation by stating the goals of the deep energy retrofits: 70% energy savings minimum for each house. They then went on to show the results they’ve received so far, just one year post-retrofit. It was interesting to see the differences in the homes and the ways the occupants approached energy efficiency. Some chose to make their property as air tight as possible while others decided upon a more systematic approach. Nearly all of the ways occupants chose to spend their money on the retrofit have paid off, although none quite to the 70% goal yet.

After an hour of photos of the homes and charts showcasing data, to say their findings were interesting would be an understatement. I was blown away, not just by what they had discovered and how much energy the homeowners had already saved, but also by the amount of variables for each home. The occupancy varying from 2 to 7 people throughout the year, adding a home office, putting in an extra fridge…. It was as if every single piece of data needed an asterisk.

At the end of the seminar, I came away with two major takeaways. 1. People (home occupants in this case) are a fickle breed, and 2. There’s not just one way to do the right thing. In fact, there were at least 10 ways staring us directly in the face.

This research, although still in its infancy, will undoubtedly serve as a great resource when it’s done and I look forward to watching its progress. Additionally, you’ll be able to read Jeremy and Brennan’s article in a future 2012 issue of Home Energy.

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