Home performance and weatherization

Air seal at duct boot

Posted on February 28,2015 by Peterbilt in Add a floor above

Comfort and Drafts

Posted on February 28,2015 by AlexWilson in Home performance and weatherization

Insulation is really important when it comes to saving energy in our homes. With more insulation in our walls, roofs, and foundation, less heat escapes via conduction to the outdoors. Insulate well!

Tax Credits for Solar Energy Systems

Posted on February 28,2015 by AlexWilson in tax credits

I’ve been addressing tax credits for home energy improvements the past few weeks. This week, we’ll look at what’s available for solar energy systems.

Innovative Financing for Energy Improvements

Posted on February 28,2015 by AlexWilson in Innovative Finance Structures

One of the greatest challenges to energy improvements is the financing needed to make those improvements. Conventional home improvement and business loans have such short terms (usually less than ten years) that the interest costs are often greater than the energy savings—making such loans hard to afford for most families and businesses. Also, it’s hard to justify putting money into a house if you’re not sure how long you’ll be there.

Attic Insulation Upgrades

Posted on February 28,2015 by Mike_Maines in conditioned attic

Two projects my company is currently working on involve a common problem: not enough insulation in the attic. Both homes are old; one dates from 1860, the other from 1705. In both cases we initially recommended insulating the rafter bays. In both cases, however, we were not able to get over homeowner biases against heating “storage spaces,” and instead opted for insulating the attic floor.

Don't Let This Happen to You

Posted on February 28,2015 by Mike_Maines in Door weatherstripping

Door design details The photo at right is from an entry that's just 15 years old. Fortunately, it was able to be repaired. I haven’t always been so lucky. Let’s just say that replacing subfloor and framing is no fun. A safe assumption is that, for one reason or another, doors always leak. They shouldn’t, but they do. Seals wear out. Wind blows. Jambs rot. Sills crack. Weepholes clog. Following are some ways to mitigate the chance of damage.

Get a Green Grip on Stimulus Cash

Posted on February 28,2015 by Fretboard in DOE

What online resources are available to remodelers and builders who want to participate in energy efficiency programs funded by the stimulus package? We identify a few sites that offer program details and contacts. We also highlight some of the challenges facing agencies charged with managing newly expanded budgets.

Minnesota Faces An Acute Shortage of Energy Auditors

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in blower door

Gearing up to Spend Weatherization Money Will Take Time ST. PAUL, Minn. — With a flood of federal dollars headed their way, Minnesota officials are scrambling to find enough home-energy auditors to ramp up the state’s low-income weatherization program. According to the Pioneer Press, “Right now, there simply aren’t enough qualified personnel to do the job.”

Credit Crunch Derails Zero-Energy Home Project

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in Green Building News

Banks No Longer Willing to Provide Construction Loans

ISSAQUAH, WA — Construction of the Z-Home project, a ten-unit zero-energy housing development in Issaquah, Washington, has been halted by the credit crunch, according to the Issaquah Press. The project’s two main developers are the City of Issaquah and Howland Homes of Shoreline, Washington, with further help from Puget Sound Energy, King County Built Green, and the Washington State University Energy Program.

U.S. House Proposes Huge Increase In Weatherization Spending

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in Green Building News

$6.2 billion for energy improvements to homes of low-income families

Fine Home Building Zero Energy, Infinite Appeal
Fine Home Building Downsizing for Comfort

Install seven-day programmable thermostats

Posted on February 28,2015 by Peterbilt in New construction

**Programmable thermostats save energy by automatically raising or lowering indoor temperatures when the building is unoccupied or at night when occupants sleep.** EnergyStar-rated programmable thermostats require two separate programs, one for weekday settings, one for the weekends. Each program must accommodate up to four temperature settings.

Lower heat gain with reflective shades

Posted on February 28,2015 by Peterbilt in Deep energy

**Shades or blinds are the most effective means of preventing unwanted heat and sunlight from entering a house.**

This lowers cooling costs. And, by employing a combination of strategies such as this one, it's possible to eliminate air-conditioning altogether in drier climates.

Shades or blinds mounted to the outside of the building are best. Available with manual or automatic controls, their sometimes complex, weatherproof hardware can add to the cost. Manual shades require an operator for changing weather conditions, or the benefits are lost.

Install thermostats with a night setback

Posted on February 28,2015 by Peterbilt in New construction

**A night-setback thermostat saves energy by automatically adjusting indoor temperatures.** Generally easier to use than more fully-programmable thermostats, night-setback thermostats curb energy use by cutting back on heating or cooling while occupants are asleep, or the house is unoccupied. Then they normalize temperatures when the house is occupied. Night-setback thermostats save more on heating than on cooling.

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