Energy myths are persistent, in spite of the fact that energy experts spend a good deal of time performing debunking duty. Many energy experts collect misguided energy-saving tips as a hobby, and pick the myths apart with the dedication of an 18th-century amateur scientist.
In a previous blog, I presented my own list of ten energy myths. My collection included these old chestnuts:
- Walls have to breathe.
- Caulking the exterior of a house reduces air leakage.
- R-value tests only measure conductive heat flow.
- In-floor radiant heating systems save energy.
Two other myth-collecting hobbyists are Rick Diamond and Mithra Moezzi, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They presented their list of energy myths in a paper, “Revealing Myths about People, Energy and Buildings.” Here are some myths they shared:
- Cleaning the refrigerator coils improves refrigerator efficiency. According to Diamond and Moezzi, “A review of measured tests with refrigerators showed that there was no or little evidence of improved efficiency from cleaning the coils (Litt, Megowan, and Meier 1993).”
- Installing foam gaskets in electrical outlets will significantly reduce air infiltration. Diamond and Moezzi write, “The probable origin for this myth — an unusual case where an origin can actually be identified — was a study in the late 1970s that showed that 20% of the air leakage in fifty homes was due to wall outlets (Caffey 1979). Later studies showed leakage values for outlets to be under 1%.”
When it comes to energy myth debunking, Michael Blasnik leads the pack
While many writers have assembled similar lists, one myth debunker stands head-and-shoulders above his peers: Michael Blasnik. A researcher and statistician with a steel-trap mind, Blasnik takes nothing on faith. His approach is always the same: “Show me the data.”
A featured speaker at many conferences, Blasnik has presented different versions of his energy-myths collection over the years.…