energy efficiency

Maine Slashes Its Efficiency Program

Posted on April 02,2015 by ScottG in energy efficiency

Utility regulators in Maine have voted to trim funding for a statewide program that pays for energy efficiency improvements in homes and businesses, from the $60 million state lawmakers said they were expecting to $22 million.

Elevator Shaft Vents Blamed for Big Energy Losses

Posted on April 02,2015 by ScottG in air leakage

A typical apartment building in New York City loses thousands of dollars worth of energy every year from leaky elevator shafts that vent warm air at the top of the building and draw in cold air at the bottom, according to a new report from the city's U.S. Green Building Council chapter.

A Second Look at a Surprising Study on Energy

Posted on April 02,2015 by StevenNadel in building codes

Steven Nadel is the executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. This post originally appeared on the ACEEE blog. GBA posted a news story about the original study in January.

Reviving Old Masonry Buildings

Posted on April 02,2015 by ScottG in brick building

A New York City firm that specializes in materials for high-performance buildings has published an online book that explains how historic masonry buildings can be retrofitted using the products that the company sells. High Performance Historic Masonry Retrofits is the work of 475 High Performance Building Supply, the Brooklyn-based company. Along with a number of CAD drawings, the book is available as a free download.

Most Home Buyers Would Pay Extra for Efficiency

Posted on April 02,2015 by ScottG in energy efficiency

The number of new home buyers who would be influenced by energy or water efficiency has been stable over the last few years, at 80 percent or better, but a new finding shows many of them would actually be willing to pay more for the house providing they could enjoy lower energy costs. That's the conclusion of the annual "Energy Pulse" study from Builder Online, which published the results late last month.

The Economic Plus of Energy Conservation

Posted on April 02,2015 by ScottG in energy conservation

The cost of programs designed to save energy works out to 4.4 cents per kilowatt hour, less than half of what power from a conventional coal-burning plant costs, according to an analysis from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Maine Hosts a ‘Pretty Good House’ Conference

Posted on April 02,2015 by ScottG in energy efficiency

Designing a house that balances the competing interests of performance and cost is the focus of a December 2 conference at the Augusta, Maine, Civic Center.

Massachusetts is Tops in Energy Efficiency Poll

Posted on April 02,2015 by ScottG in ACEEE

A national scorecard on energy efficiency puts Massachusetts at the top of the list for the fourth year in a row. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a Washington-based non-profit, released its eighth annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard on October 22, praising state legislatures and governors for continued progress in lowering energy costs and reducing pollution through energy efficiency efforts.

The Difference Between Efficiency and Efficacy

Posted on April 02,2015 by ab3 in Ceiling fan

When I was doing research for an article on ceiling fans a while back, I noticed that fans don't have energy efficiency ratings; they have efficacy ratings. There's certainly confusion about the terminology among different sources, but since light bulbs are also described by their efficacy, I started wondering about the term. I'd just accepted it before, with a vague understanding that there was something different about how efficacy was defined. Now I know why.

The Achilles’ Heel of Zoned Duct Systems

Posted on April 02,2015 by ab3 in air flow

Last week I wrote about what happens when you try to save energy by closing air conditioning registers in unused rooms. In the end, I recommended not doing it because you won’t save money and you may create some big problems for yourself, like freezing up the coil and killing your compressor. At the end of the article, I mentioned that zoned duct systems do close off registers, and that doing so can be OK with the right kind of equipment and design. But there’s one thing often done in zoned duct systems that’s rarely done well.

Are LEED-Certified Buildings Energy-Efficient?

Posted on April 02,2015 by JimNewman1 in energy efficiency

There has been some heated discussion lately about how much energy LEED-certified buildings use. When the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) first came out with its Version 1 LEED Guideline in 2000, a building could earn LEED certification without any points in the energy section. In the early 2000s, making a building more energy-efficient than the building codes was more of a challenge for architects and engineers than it is today. When applying for LEED certification, they would attempt the “easier” and often less expensive points available under other credits.

U.S. Lags in Energy Efficiency

Posted on April 02,2015 by ScottG in ACEEE

The United States does less to conserve energy than most of the world's largest economies and is putting itself at a competitive disadvantage because of it, a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says. The International Energy Efficiency Scorecard measured efficiency efforts in the world's 16 largest economies that together account for 81% of global gross domestic product and 71% of the global consumption of electricity.

California Study Shows Big Savings in Home Energy Retrofits

Posted on April 02,2015 by ab3 in air flow

At the Forum on Dry Climate Home Performance earlier this year, I got to hear three building science experts talk about a really cool research project they've been working on in Stockton, California. Bruce Wilcox, John Proctor, and Rick Chitwood (Wilcox and Proctor are shown in photo at right) filled us in on the Stockton project, which now has two years of data and shows some really impressive results.

How to Buy an Energy-Efficient Ceiling Fan

Posted on April 02,2015 by ab3 in air flow

A little over a decade ago when I was building a house and buying a bunch of ceiling fans, it wasn't so easy to figure out which fans were energy efficient and which weren't. That's not the case anymore because every ceiling fan now has a label on the package that tells you how much air movement you can expect for each watt of electricity you put into the fan.

Energy Efficiency Costs Less Than New Generation

Posted on April 02,2015 by ScottG in American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy

Paying for increased energy efficiency is two or three times less expensive than adding new electrical generating capacity, two recent studies have found. As reported by Midwest Energy News, the average cost of saving energy was between 2 cents and 2.8 cents per kilowatt hour, two or three times less than adding wind, natural gas, coal, or other generating facilities.

Induction Cooktops, Steve Jobs, and a Lone Nut Dancing

Posted on April 02,2015 by ab3 in appliance

Last Friday was Pi Day, named for that special number, 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288... The three dots at the end mean that I've exhausted my memory of the digits of pi, but pi doesn't care. It just goes on and on. Anyway, Pi Day is a perfect day for a physics lesson because so many physics equations (and solutions) use that special number. And what better physics lesson for Pi Day than one about a device that cooks yummy things for us!

Toronto Hosts Energy Conference in April

Posted on April 02,2015 by ScottG in All-Energy

Two hundred exhibitors and as many as 2,500 renewable energy professionals are expected at the All-Energy Canada Exhibition & Conference in Toronto on April 9 and 10, organizers said. The Toronto conference is one of three All-Energy conferences this year. Others are scheduled in Australia and Scotland.

How to Get Your Ducts Inside the Building Enclosure

Posted on April 02,2015 by ab3 in building enclosure

I'm a big advocate of getting ducts inside the building enclosure. In cooling climates, getting ducts out of an unconditioned attic can save you 15% on your electricity bills. It can reduce the size of air conditioner you need by 25%. If it's not in such a harsh environment, your air conditioner will last longer, too.

When You’re Financing a Green Home, Payback Is Irrelevant

Posted on April 02,2015 by ab3 in cost effectiveness

If you're buying a green home or investing in energy efficiency improvements for your existing home, calculating the simple payback for your investment is at best incomplete and at worst, completely irrelevant. Before I get to the reasons why payback isn't the right way to look at home energy efficiency improvements, let's define simple payback.

If Only Green Homes Could Be Sold Like Breakfast Cereal

Posted on April 02,2015 by user-756436 in comfort

Just the other day, I was looking at a box of breakfast cereal. The largest lettering on the box were the three words naming the cereal: Frosted Shredded Wheat. Next in prominence came the tag line: “Contains 6 g. of fiber per serving.” You’re probably thinking, “so what?” Manufacturers of processed food make claims like this so frequently that we’ve all gotten used to them.

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