home performance

Hard Truths of Home Performance

Posted on February 27,2015 by Nate_Adams in efficiency program

If you've been reading my blogs, you know that I have learned some hard truths. You read the warts-and-all implosion story of my Century Club company in How an Efficiency Program Killed My Business.

The ‘Low-Hanging Fruit’ Fallacy

Posted on February 27,2015 by Nate_Adams in home performance

First, a definition. The phrase “energy efficiency programs” (or just “programs”) refers to any utility-funded or state-funded program that offers homeowners a rebate, incentive, or inexpensive financing to make energy efficiency upgrades in their homes.

Designing a ‘One Knob’ Incentive Program

Posted on February 27,2015 by Nate_Adams in efficiency program

Author's note: This series is aimed at the home performance industry. My company values transparency, so we put it in the public sphere for homeowners to see and understand our thinking.

How an Efficiency Program Killed My Business

Posted on February 27,2015 by Nate_Adams in business

Note to Homeowners: This article is primarily aimed at the Home Performance industry. I strive for radical transparency, so I put this in the public sphere for you to read as well.

Residential Commissioning

Posted on February 27,2015 by user-756436 in commissioning

Building a new home usually requires work by several subcontractors, including electricians, plumbers, and HVAC installers. At the end of the job, someone — usually the general contractor — has to verify that all of the specified work has been completed. Has the water heater been installed? Check. Air conditioner? Check. Ducts? Check. Ventilation system? Check.

Strength in Numbers

Posted on February 27,2015 by Dedalus in business

I’ve had three extended learning experiences in my career that have taught me the power of numbers. Thanks to my friends John Abrams of South Mountain Company and Jamie Wolf of Wolfworks, along with key support from the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association and the Yestermorrow Design Build School, I’m about to embark on a fourth such experience — one which promises to be the most exciting and powerful of all.

The 7 Biggest Opportunities for HVAC Contractors

Posted on February 27,2015 by ab3 in air flow

Heating and air conditioning contractors have a lot of opportunities to make homes better and to be profitable. The surprising thing is just how few HVAC companies take advantage of all the opportunities that are available to them.

Calling all Weatherization Workers

Posted on February 27,2015 by user-756436 in DOE

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) wants to standardize and professionalize the work of weatherization and home performance contractors. Towards that end, the government agency has launched a project called the “Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals” project.

What’s Going On With Home Performance?

Posted on February 27,2015 by CarlSeville in energy audits

I’ve been involved, if somewhat peripherally, with the Home Performance industry for quite a while. I was one of the original group working on Home Performance with Energy Star in Atlanta quite a few years ago. As I learned more about this evolving field, I felt that it was both important and necessary, and thought that it had potential to be a profitable business model.

Blog Review: Energy Vanguard Blog

Posted on February 27,2015 by GBA Team in blog

by Martin Holladay GBA is launching a new feature: periodic reviews of interesting blogs. To get the ball rolling, I’m recommending the Energy Vanguard blog. The author of the Energy Vanguard blog, Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a RESNET-accredited energy consultant and trainer. He performs heat loss calculations, provides HERS rating services, and provides rater training and Energy Star training, among other services.

ACI Round Two

Posted on February 27,2015 by CarlSeville in ACI

Expanding on my last post about ACI, here are assorted observations and amusing anecdotes about events, products, and educational sessions that I attended. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend as many classes as I would have liked.

Blower Door Basics

Posted on February 27,2015 by user-756436 in blower door

Leaky homes are hard to heat and hard to cool. The only way to know whether your home is leaky or tight is to measure its air leakage rate with a blower door. A blower door is a tool that depressurizes a house; this depressurization exaggerates the home’s air leaks, making the leaks easier to measure and locate. An energy-efficient house must be as airtight as possible. Many older U.S. homes are so leaky that a third to a half of the home’s heat loss comes from air leaks.

Tote Bags and Energy Efficiency (or Lack Thereof)

Posted on February 27,2015 by CarlSeville in Demand Side Mangement

At a local Earth Hour party, the largest electric utility the area, Georgia Power, handed out "eco-friendly" tote bags made of vinyl recycled from its billboards. The company claims, "Each billboard can be used to produce approximately 150 tote bags." Notice it says "can" rather than "is." I would be interested to know how many bags were actually made from that recycled billboard. I mean, how many more tote bags do we need? I feel like I am buried in them, and they just keep appearing. They are the advertising specialty of the hour, having replaced beer cozies and refrigerator magnets.

Raising the Bar for Energy Star Homes

Posted on February 27,2015 by user-756436 in Energy Star homes

Over a thousand home performance contractors, weatherization experts, HERS raters, and energy nerds are gathered in Kansas City, Missouri, this week to attend the ACI Home Performance conference (formerly known as the Affordable Comfort conference). At one well-attended workshop, energy consultant Michael Blasnik and Shaun Hassel of Advanced Energy Corporation shared a roundup of data on the performance of Energy Star homes — data which are unlikely to be happily received at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Among the findings presented by Blasnik and Hassel:

Don't Try This At Home: Armchair Building Science

Posted on February 27,2015 by Peterbilt in air leakage

The homeowners called me after a certified home inspector stated that the attic was underventilated and moisture was building up as a result. The roof assembly had soffit vents at the eaves and two gable-end vents. These vents would not be as effective as ridge-to-soffit ventilation, but were probably close to building code requirements (see Green Basics – Attics).

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