Energy Solutions

Farewell!

Posted on June 12, 2014 by Alex Wilson

Transitions.

Back in June, 2008 I started writing a weekly column on energy for the Brattleboro Reformer, our local newspaper. I thought it would be fun to write a regular column on a topic that I’ve focused so much time on over the past 35-plus years. I was pretty confident that I could come up with enough topics to crank out a year’s worth of columns, and I thought some of the Reformer’s readers would appreciate such a column — geeky as it might be.

Testing Building Assemblies for Moisture Resistance

Posted on June 5, 2014 by Alex Wilson

When I was in Portland, Oregon, the week before last for the Living Future Conference, I had an opportunity to visit a facility in nearby Clackamas where building assemblies and components can be tested for water intrusion and water vapor penetration.

One of the high points of being a researcher and writer is the opportunity to visit really cool manufacturing and research facilities, so I usually jump at the opportunity to visit something new. I wasn’t disappointed on my recent trip.

Yes, the Living Building Challenge is Overreaching

Posted on May 29, 2014 by Alex Wilson

I’m just back from Portland, Oregon where I attended the annual Living Future Conference.

The Living Future Conference was created by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) initially to provide a networking and learning venue for designers and builders involved in creating buildings that are being certified through the Living Building Challenge.

Can We Power Our Car With the Sun?

Posted on May 22, 2014 by Alex Wilson

I’ve written about a lot of the features we included in our new house in Dummerston, Vermont, to reduce its energy use and environmental footprint, but there’s another one — a big one — that doesn’t really relate to the house.

High-Tech Ceiling Fans for Low-Tech Cooling

Posted on May 15, 2014 by Alex Wilson

Winter has barely ended in Vermont, but as I write this the forecast is for 82 degrees tomorrow. This makes me think about strategies for keeping cool in the months ahead. I’m looking forward to trying out the high-tech ceiling fans we installed in our two upstairs bedrooms. I’ll get to those fans in a minute, but first I’ll explain why I like ceiling fans so much.

Resilience as a Driver of Change

Posted on May 7, 2014 by Alex Wilson

Readers of this column have heard me argue in the past that resilience can be a motivation for taking actions that will not only make us and our families safer, but also help to mitigate climate change. Let me lay out that basic argument again.

Taking Action on Climate Change

Posted on May 1, 2014 by Alex Wilson

In my previous blog I described the international effort to understand climate change. The United Nations’ IPCC is leading the charge, and efforts like the Kyoto Treaty have grown out of that background work. But are we getting closer to solving the problem?

Earth Day 2014 and Climate Change

Posted on April 24, 2014 by Alex Wilson

With Earth Day having been this week, I’ve been musing about the state of our environment and where we’re heading.

How Much Water Does it Take to Turn on a Light Bulb?

Posted on April 17, 2014 by Alex Wilson

In last week's blog I took a look at some of the water conservation features in our new house, but I began the blog by addressing the relationship between water and energy. That got me curious, so I’ve been digging deeper into this water-energy nexus, examining the water-intensity of our different electricity sources.

Saving Water — Saving Energy

Posted on April 10, 2014 by Alex Wilson

In this weekly blog, I’ve focused a lot of attention on the energy-saving measures at our new home — from the innovative insulation materials we used to the air-source heat pumpHeat pump that relies on outside air as the heat source and heat sink; not as effective in cold climates as ground-source heat pumps. heating system and our top-efficiency heat-recovery ventilator(HRV). Balanced ventilation system in which most of the heat from outgoing exhaust air is transferred to incoming fresh air via an air-to-air heat exchanger; a similar device, an energy-recovery ventilator, also transfers water vapor. HRVs recover 50% to 80% of the heat in exhausted air. In hot climates, the function is reversed so that the cooler inside air reduces the temperature of the incoming hot air. .

What I haven’t said much about are the measures we’ve taken to reduce water use and why these measures save energy as well.

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