All Blog Posts (1,423)

Get the Most out of Home Energy Efficiency Tax Credits in Illinois

As part of the “fiscal cliff” legislation signed into law early this year, Congress provided a number of 2012 and 2013 tax credits for home energy efficiency improvements. These tax credits, coupled with financial incentives available for energy efficiency improvements, make right now a lucrative time to invest in home energy…
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Added by Melissa Ulbricht on January 11, 2013 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Time to Stand Up and Be Counted!

If a tree falls in the…

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Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on January 10, 2013 at 5:36pm — No Comments

Energy Efficiency & Real Estate in 2013?

This new year has the promise of some bright signs in the housing market.  There are equally…

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Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on January 10, 2013 at 5:06pm — No Comments

Book Review: An Introduction to Green Homes

The Appraisal Institute’s An Introduction to Green Homes is yet another valuable tool from the Institute, paving the way for appraisers to handle green home assignments. The book, authored by long-time appraiser, REALTOR, and educator Alan Simmons in 2010 helps appraisers new to this work “know what they don’t know.” The book equips appraisers to identify green building certifications, techniques,…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 9, 2013 at 1:11pm — No Comments

Clocking a Gas Meter

  After writing last week's post: "High CO Reading, Now What?" it occurred to me that not as many people out there: technicians, raters, or auditors; are up to speed on the age old firing rate calculation.  I hope this simple procedure is easily understood as you may find it useful if you are working with negative pressure gas valves, with Energy Star Homes, or just simply forgot your manometer at the shop.  I…

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Added by Christopher Morin on January 8, 2013 at 9:29pm — 4 Comments

We have blown way past the climate tipping point!

For some reason this is never reported in the popular media, anywhere: We have blown Way Past the climate tipping point! The proof of this follows:

The Climactic Tipping Point we passed it 5 years ago! More…

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Added by Tom DelConte on January 8, 2013 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Secondhand Smoke Animations

Reposted from i.e., the Center for Energy and Environment's Innovation Exchange blog -- http://mncee.org/Innovation-Exchange/ie/…

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Added by Lester Shen on January 8, 2013 at 11:21am — No Comments

Bang for the buck: deep-energy retrofit approach

"Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities."                                                                                                      Winston Churchill

How much does it cost to perform a deep-energy retrofit at a 100-year-old single-family home? Thanks to a recent study in Utica, New York, we now know the answer: about $100,000.…

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Added by Igor Zhadanovsky on January 3, 2013 at 4:44pm — 32 Comments

High CO Reading, Now What?

Things used to be so easy when working in this business back in the day. When carrying tools for some old timers, I remember some replacing an air filter and kicking the furnace while saying"Yup, still here!" Maintenance these days, for great reason, has taken a more efficient operation mentality, mainly because energy prices have started to affect our wallets. These days, 68% steady state efficiency oil boilers and gas furnaces with high carbon monoxide readings mean something. But, does it… Continue

Added by Christopher Morin on January 3, 2013 at 2:36pm — 1 Comment

What Makes Quantum Heat Pump So Popular?

Hot water is required in every home. In earlier days, there were hardly any sources that can be used for heating water except fire. As the time passes, numerous advancements take place in the technology that makes life easy of the people.



Now days, if you just make a search in the market, you will come across a variety of devices that can be used for heating purposes. But barely any of them is constructed keeping in mind its affects on the environment.



We are well…

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Added by Jack Sadyak on January 3, 2013 at 3:00am — No Comments

Home Non-Energy - Preparing Homes for Future Blackouts

We all have stories about losing power in our home for several hours—or days—and many people suspect that power interruptions are becoming more frequent. They may be right; unfortunately, the utility data are so sketchy that nobody can say for certain. But declining investment in maintenance on the part of utilities, plus the increased frequency of extreme weather caused by climate change, are almost certain to keep the blackouts coming.

One response is to buy a home generator. That’s…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on January 2, 2013 at 12:54pm — 6 Comments

Houston, We Have ANOTHER Problem !

From the great region of the country that gave us rock, blues, country, dubstep, and Tejano music origins, not to mention the space program, horns mounted on pickup trucks, and Gilley's (everywhere, now) comes the newest invention and innovation, the …

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Added by Tom DelConte on December 28, 2012 at 9:30am — 3 Comments

On-Call for the Holidays?

   This seems to be one of the unluckiest weeks to draw in the on-call pool for a technician.  You see, over the Winter you have to respond to no-heat calls much faster than a residence without cooling on Memorial or Independence Day.  I remember visiting homes many Festivus evenings and getting the old clunker of a boiler running, without the swears from "A Christmas Story".  But, even over the last fifteen years, being on-call has changed.  If you were not able to  barter your way out of…

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Added by Christopher Morin on December 22, 2012 at 1:07pm — 1 Comment

What Deregulation Means for You

Hey guys - long time reader, first time poster.  Happy to be here!

How many of you live in deregulated energy markets, by chance? If you're not familiar with them, the way they work is pretty simple. Just like deregulation across other industries, deregulated energy markets spread the regulatory power for your electricity service across a few different areas rather than condensing it all under one body. Basically, deregulated markets like Pennsylvania and Texas allow citizens…

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Added by Kristina Ross on December 19, 2012 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

Simple Energy Messages from the Property Brothers

As I recently reviewed in my “Storytelling from BECC” blog, media provides a huge opportunity for the home performance industry to make it into the mainstream. That’s why I was pleased to see recently that HGTV’s show “Property Brothers” was dolling out advice that I’ve heard more than once at industry conferences.

For those of you unfamiliar, the “Property Brothers,” also known as Drew and Jonathan…

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Added by Macie Melendez on December 18, 2012 at 4:15pm — No Comments

Insurance Industry Paying Increasing Attention to Climate Change

The insurance industry, the world's largest business with $4.6 trillion in revenues, is making larger efforts to manage climate change-related risks, according to a new study published today in the journal Science.

"Weather- and climate-related insurance losses today average $50 billion a year. These losses have more than doubled each decade since the 1980s, adjusted for inflation," says the study's author Evan Mills, a scientist in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on December 18, 2012 at 3:58pm — No Comments

Why Tankless, Hybrid Electric, and Solar Water Heaters Just Don't Work!

Tankless- expensive, high maintenance, high failure rates, high install costs, limited flow rates, poor winter performance, long payback.

Hybrid Electric- too tall, need surrounding space for heat exchange, poor durability, noisy, may need condensate pump.

Solar- requires southern exposure, cold & cloudy days: poor performance, very long payback, high install costs

What works?

The good old Storage Tank water heater- electric is OK, fast…

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Added by Tom DelConte on December 18, 2012 at 2:00pm — 35 Comments

TRACKING RESULTS - Making Excellence A Competitive Advantage

Promises of savings without tracking DRIVES ME NUTS.  People are being harmed and we don't have any idea how big the harm is.  Comprehensive Home Performance really takes off once you connect tracking results because now you can offer a thing very rare.  

You can offer TRUTH.  You can offer PROOF that what you say will happen, will happen.  Delivering the "5th 

How do we create pressure for Utilities to open up their data so tracking can be automated?…

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Added by tedkidd on December 13, 2012 at 11:00am — 2 Comments

Why Don't Architects and Interior Designers Care About HVAC Systems?

GUILTY! Once upon a time, I would have scoffed at mechanical engineers and contractors if they'd ask me, as the design architect, for a bigger room to put the HVAC (heating and air conditioning) equipment in.

"Are you crazy? And give up valuable storage space???"

They might have also ask me for dropped soffits and vertical chases to run the ductwork through. To which I would reply:

"What?!?! That's not consistent with my innovative and beautiful design! The…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on December 13, 2012 at 10:54am — 2 Comments

Window Replacement - wading through the maze of options and sales

Background:

In 2012 we decided it was time to replace our 27-year old contractor grade double paned aluminum widows. Some of the seals had failed. Some of the window were leaking (water).

We planned to replace 19 windows initially and ended up replacing 21 in total. 11 of which were single-hung 3-0x6-0 that we replaced with double hung windows. Three had arched eye-brows and had to remain single-hung.

From my online research I was…

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Added by Dale Stephens on December 11, 2012 at 12:08pm — 1 Comment

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