Jim Gunshinan's Blog (63)

New Home Builders Tackle Zero-Energy Home Building in Connecticut

Connecticut’s 2016 Zero Energy Challenge reinforces the growing interest in the zero-energy home building movement. In addition to increased participation among experienced homebuilders, the 2016 challenge had an influx of inexperienced zero-energy home builders trying their hand at zero-energy homebuilding for the first time, with two winning.

How did they do it?

Research, research, and more research

While…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on October 26, 2017 at 2:30pm — 1 Comment

A Healthy Home and a Healthy Bottom Line

There has been a lot of interest of late in the weatherization and broader home performance community in putting a value on the health benefits of weatherization. We’ve come a long way in the last several years and have reached, I think, some strong consensus that the health benefits of weatherization and home performance retrofits are real and valuable. This means that making healthy housing a part of your business plan makes good sense.

E4TheFuture is a nonprofit organization…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on December 5, 2016 at 12:00pm — 4 Comments

Forty Years of WAP—A Family Celebration

Sometimes it feels like Home Energy and the DOE Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) grew up together, along with what was formerly known as ACI and is now the Home Performance Coalition (HPC) and some other energy efficiency advocates. The WAP program is celebrating four decades of air sealing, insulating, health home making and family supporting on National Weatherization Day on Sunday, October 30th.

That would make Home Energy WAP’s little brother or sister. We…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on October 28, 2016 at 2:30pm — No Comments

The NASCSP Landscape

That’s the National Association for State Community Services Programs, which held it’s annual training conference September 16-18 in Sacramento. NASCSP serves the DOE WAP program, as well as other low-income programs through training and advocacy in Washington D.C.

I’ve been to several of these conferences over the 15 years I have worked at Home Energy. There are always changes, but this year I noticed a big change. A lot of the leadership that shepherded WAP through the ARRA…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 21, 2015 at 6:30pm — 1 Comment

Storytelling Our Way to a Better Life



The poet Muriel Rukeyser once said something like this: The Universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of stories. I think that conferences are made of stories too, like the one I’m at this week, the National Energy and Utility…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on June 23, 2015 at 5:00pm — 1 Comment

Unexpected Blessing

When I received an email from Larry Zarker of BPI, informing me that I had been inducted into the BPI Building Performance Hall of Fame, I thought it must be a big mistake. Then I looked at the list of previous inductees and was sure it was a mistake! I haven’t even done a blower door test all by…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on May 27, 2015 at 4:30pm — 6 Comments

Highlights from the NASCSP Annual Training Conference, 2014

The National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) met in Raleigh, North Carolina, for its annual training conference. Here are some personal highlights:

  • Raleigh, North Carolina, is a beautiful town but hard to take in from the 6th floor of my hotel room. All I saw…
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Added by Jim Gunshinan on September 23, 2014 at 5:03pm — No Comments

My Energy Upgrade California—The Numbers Are In

Here are the final numbers for my Energy Upgrade California home retrofit.

Table 1. Air…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on July 10, 2014 at 2:30pm — 26 Comments

Energy Upgrade California—Up Close and Personal Part 3

Here is the latest from the 10 Maple Lane Retrofit Project.

Met with Bill Stewart on Monday and signed an agreement for:

  • Wall insulation
  • Vapor barrier on crawlspace floor
  • Duct repair and some air sealing

I also asked them to move the filter to the return grill so…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on May 21, 2014 at 5:54pm — 7 Comments

ACI National Home Performance Conference 2014 Highlights

As usual, the ACI National Home Performance Conference contained too many highlights to mention in one blog post. So I will share just a few.

Got up early on Tuesday and went with Tom White, Home Energy Publisher, to a rehab house in a neighborhood of…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on May 2, 2014 at 5:00pm — 3 Comments

A Bit More on Energy Out West 2014

I'll be flying out to Detroit for the ACI National Home Performance Conference next Monday, but before get to Detroit and that great conference, I thought I'd share one more special moment from Energy Out West.

On Thursday afternoon last week, just after lunch, John Tooley, Anthony Cox,…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on April 24, 2014 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

Energy OutWest 2014

David Hepinstall (right) and his colleague from the Association for Energy Affordability in New York City through their work provide a powerful antidote to cynicism. 
I was at the Energy OutWest Conference several years ago, but a memory still…
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Added by Jim Gunshinan on April 17, 2014 at 2:30pm — 4 Comments

Energy Upgrade California—Up Close and Personal Part 2

I am in San Diego for the Energy Out West conference (see photo), and I want to write about it, but while it is fresh in my mind I want to fill you in on my latest Energy Upgrade California experience first.

Before getting on a plane for San Diego, Bill Stewart of Stewart Heating and Air…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on April 16, 2014 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Energy Upgrade California—Up Close and Personal



Our furnace is approaching 25 years old and we have no cooling capabilities, so my wife Michele and I are looking into buying some new equipment before the temperature climbs this summer. I am especially interested in installing a mini-split heat pump, which would allow us to get rid of the ductwork and…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on April 7, 2014 at 5:00pm — 13 Comments

ARRA Keeps Working for You

Almost two years ago I posted a blog about the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA); ARRA, or the “Stimulus Bill”, has gotten pilloried in the media as a colossal failure and waste of taxpayer dollars. But if you would take the time to do a little research, you would see that most of the coverage has been far from the truth.

Because of ARRA’s support for DOE’s Weatherization…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on March 21, 2014 at 6:30pm — 13 Comments

The Passive House Revolution

An email came from Faith Morgan with a link to a documentary film called “Passive House Revolution,” produced by the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions in Yellow Springs, Ohio. It was a busy day, but I thought I could use a break from words, so I left the stack of unopened emails for a while and watched the film. I’m glad that I did.…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on March 14, 2014 at 7:02pm — 13 Comments

More Proof that Weatherization Works—To Increase Kid's Health

Weatherization is about more than just energy efficiency. It has always been about the health and comfort of the weatherized home’s occupants as well. For a long time these benefits of weatherization have been called “non-energy benefits.” But the health effects of weatherization have now taken pride of place alongside energy benefits. Now there is new research showing increased health and well being among families whose homes have been weatherized. A recent Home Energy article—available…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on March 13, 2014 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Which Communicating Thermostats are Consumers Most Likely to Use?

With the Google buyout of NEST thermostats, attention has turned from the “smart meter” to the thermostat as a focal point of residential energy efficiency. (Read this recent editorial by Alan Meier.) But several years ago Energy Star decided…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on March 6, 2014 at 5:00pm — 15 Comments

Standard Retrofit Packages—What Works?

If we want to make good, or great, home performance a reality for more people and families across North America, we must come to some agreement on standard retrofit packages that work. Not every house is the same, but we can agree on standards that can be widely, quickly, and efficiently applied to similar housing types. The home performance community has more than three decades of experience to bear on the question. Please add your voice to the discussion.

Join Scott Yee, PARR;…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on March 4, 2014 at 2:35pm — No Comments

A Valentine's Day Lesson

 Here is the offending thermostat. Check out the mercury switch under the dial! Thank goodness we don't make them the way we used to…

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Added by Jim Gunshinan on February 14, 2014 at 5:23pm — 26 Comments

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