Two books that do a good job of explaining residential energy use issues to homeowners are Consumer Guide To Home Energy Savings and No-Regrets Remodeling. Both books have been around for years. Recently the publishers of these two books issued new editions, so I decided to give them a careful read.
Consumer Guide To Home Energy Savings
Since 1990, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has published the Consumer Guide To Home Energy Savings. The current version is the tenth edition; its authors — Jennifer Thorne Amann, Alex Wilson, and Katie Ackerly — are the same as those of the ninth edition.
This book is an excellent homeowner’s guide to reducing home energy use. The authors make a stab at addressing basic building science concepts — for example, by explaining what a thermal envelope is, and by discussing the importance of air barriers. Most of the book’s information is accurate and helpful.
Yet the book is occasionally troubling and ultimately unsatisfying — both for its many errors and its fundamental failure to help homeowners focus on what matters most. The authors seem to lurch from topic to topic, in an apparent attempt to be comprehensive, without providing enough context to help homeowners distinguish between trivial and crucial issues.
Examples of misplaced emphasis abound: