Quality Information for Energy Conservation

The latest word on the energy front

Air Sealing Where it Counts

The graph below shows which structural air-leaks drive up energy costs the most, allowing you to maximize efforts toward reinforcing your home's building envelope. 

This image comes from http://www.builderonline.com/energy-efficientconstruction/5-penetrations-that-provide-the-most-bang-for-your-air-sealing-buck.aspx 

What's the big deal about LED bulbs?

Light bulbs.  We all use them, we all know what they look like (mostly) but above all we all know which ones we're supposed to use.  

Right? 

A quick online search of "which bulb should I use?" will turn out pages after pages of infographics and articles and comparison charts... in short, a lot of information.  But it still might not answer your question.  This is the internet after all. 

So where does that leave you?  What's a person to do?  Here's one person's story of bulb research and switching, and what they found out the (not so) easy way. 

~

Marketing Green Homes

In the July/August 2014 issue of Bay State Realtor (https://www.marealtor.com/magazine), Debbie Swanson pens an excellent article about the challenges of marketing green homes, and the benefits of the same.  

"There were two units for sale in the town home, and both sold easily."  She goes on to talk about potential buyers and what they're looking for in their new homes in Massachusetts, a state that is making great strides and extensive promises about renewable energy goals.  Among the plethora of numbers that potential buyers are looking at, the Home Energy Rating Score (HERS) is on the list more than ever, and is becoming a number that could make or break the deal.  

The Whole House Approach

Posted in: HERS Raters

We sat down and interviewed one of our Raters, Roy Chatalbash, and got his view on what he calls the Whole House approach to HERS Rating. 

SEA: What does energy rating mean to you?

Roy: The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) methodology takes into consideration a large group of variables that help a Rater understand the relative performance of the different attributes of a home, and enables the Rater to compare one house with another.  For example, a home that has more window area than an average home may need to have a larger HVAC system to provide adequate comfort. So, one consequence of a possible design decision, more glazing (windows), creates higher energy use and therefore a negative effect on the HERS Index.

SEA: When you say a whole house approach, what does that mean for energy rating?

Video: Superinsulation Doesn't Work if the Windows Leak

Posted in: video

In this installment of Green Building Advisor's "Job Site Visits" series, building science guru Joe Lstiburek explains why insulating a house to the highest standards won't do much good if the home still has significant air leakage.

Video: Interior Air Sealing for Maximum Energy Efficiency

Posted in: video

This video, part of a series from the Oregon contractor Hammer & Hand, describes how to air seal the interior of a home to maximize the effectiveness of super energy efficient, European "Passive House" style windows.

Ceiling Fan FAQs

Posted in: video
Are they Evil??

Ceiling fans would seem, at first glance, to be a smart tool in the overall mix of your home's energy efficency equipment. But too few know that their real value is when they're blowing on people--and many experts say they're essentially worthless and counterproductive if people aren't present in the home. Carl Seville, a Green Building Consultant and expert from Atlanta, wrote a provocatively named post recently: Ceiling Fans are Evil on the Green Building Advisor blog.

Video: Stop Drafts with a Homemade Door Sweep

Posted in: video

You might even have the materials for this project already lurking in your basement!  A door sweep is an excellent way to keep drafts out and this video from Fine Homebuilding explains how to make a homemade door sweep.  You can easily create a more comfortable indoor environment and save some money on your energy bills this winter.

Energy: Where's it Come From and Where Does it Go?

Posted in: infographic

We all think about the energy our house comsumes, and how to lower that number to help our bills and the planet. But have you ever wondered where our country's energy comes from and goes to?  The answers may shock you. 

This fascinating map from the Lawrence Livermore Labratory shows in simple graphic terms where we generate energy and how much of it goes to various sectors. One of the fascinating aspects of this is everything you see in gray--"Rejected Energy." What this really means is waste. Particularly in electricity, as much as 2/3 of all the energy created is lost during transmission and via other means before it actually does any work. All the more reason to generate your electricity right at home on your roof. 

Killing Vampire Power & Saving Money

Posted in: video

A cold moon rises.  Fog rolls across dead leaves and empty trees. It's there, in your home, lurking in the corners and behind desks...  drinking its fill of your house's precious energy and driving your power bills through your nice, insulated roof. Beware the power strip!  We insulate and install CFL bulbs, but forget about the appliances we rely on daily.  Learn how smart power strips work to kill vampire power in your home.  Warning: contains humor.