Energy Solutions

Commercial-Scale Wind Power

Posted on February 14, 2013 by Alex Wilson

Last week I wrote about the challenges of small wind turbines and the difficulty of successfully integrating wind power into buildings. This week, I’ll look at larger-scale commercial wind power developments.

Wind Power: Why it Doesn’t Make Sense Everywhere

Posted on February 7, 2013 by Alex Wilson

At least in our neck of the woods, wind power is very much in the news these days. The Vermont legislature is debating whether to institute a three-year moratorium on what detractors refer to as “industrial wind power,” and debate is raging in the nearby towns of Windham and Grafton, Vermont about a potential wind farm. I figured I should weigh in.

State-of-the-Art Windows for A New Home

Posted on January 31, 2013 by Alex Wilson

Having written about windows and emerging window technologies for longer than I care to admit (since before low-e coatings even existed), I must say that it’s incredibly fun to be building a house and having an opportunity to try out some of the leading-edge stuff I’ve been writing about.

Seeking an Affordable Energy-Efficient Exterior Door

Posted on January 24, 2013 by Alex Wilson

Despite the chilly (seasonable) weather, work is progressing on the renovation/rebuild of our house in Dummerston. Last week, the three exterior doors were installed. Which brings me to one of my pet peeves: the lack of really good choices for highly energy-efficient exterior doors.

We ended up with a solution that I think will be okay, but there is a huge void in the world of truly high-performance doors. Here, I’ll describe the three doors we put in. I hope you can put up with my whining.

To Save Transportation Energy, Change Behavior

Posted on January 17, 2013 by Alex Wilson

Before the holidays I wrote a blog on how to save energy in the home by changing our behavior. This week we’ll take a look at some of the ways that we can save energy by changing our driving behavior. Below are some simple measures — most cost nothing and some even save money — to reduce your energy use for transportation.

Making Healthier, Greener Foam Insulation

Posted on January 10, 2013 by Alex Wilson

As readers of this blog know, I’ve come down fairly hard on certain types of foam insulation over the years. The downsides include the blowing agents used in extruded polystyrene (XPSExtruded polystyrene. Highly insulating, water-resistant rigid foam insulation that is widely used above and below grade, such as on exterior walls and underneath concrete floor slabs. In North America, XPS is made with ozone-depleting HCFC-142b. XPS has higher density and R-value and lower vapor permeability than EPS rigid insulation.) and most closed-cell spray polyurethane foam and the flame retardants that are added to all foam-plastic insulation to impart some level of fire resistance.

What I’m Hoping for in the New Year

Posted on January 3, 2013 by Alex Wilson

With snow gently falling as the holiday season winds down, I find myself reflecting on the New Year and what we might hope for. World peace of course, and solving the poverty conundrum would be great.

But what about energy and the environment? Here are some thoughts:

Changing Behavior to Save Energy

Posted on December 20, 2012 by Alex Wilson

We live in a world of gadgets and stuff. When it comes to saving energy, we look to high-efficiency light bulbs or dishwashers. Or we use the advanced weatherstripping to seal our windows or add insulation in our attics. And hopefully we’ll look at fuel-economy ratings when shopping for our next car.

Those are important things to be doing — and we should continue paying attention with all of our purchases. But we should also recognize that behavior is a big part of our overall energy consumption.

Energy-Efficient Stocking Stuffers and More

Posted on December 13, 2012 by Alex Wilson

I’m not a big shopper. I don’t even particularly like getting presents. Our society is just too much about consumption. Nonetheless, as I’ve done on occasion in the past, I’m providing below some Christmas shopping ideas.

Using Open-Web Trusses as Rafters for Superinsulated Roofs

Posted on December 6, 2012 by Alex Wilson

Last week I wrote about an innovative foundation insulation material, Foamglas, that we used in our new house in Dummerston. This week I’ll talk about the open-web rafters we’re using to achieve a superinsulated roof.

First, a little background. There are several approaches to creating highly insulated roofs.

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