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Musings of an Energy Nerd

Top Ten News Stories of the Decade

I’ve selected the most important energy-efficiency news story for each of the last ten years

For those interested in energy efficiency and residential construction, what were the top ten news stories of the decade? I propose the following list — a list inevitably influenced by the years I spent as editor of Energy Design Update.

2000 — Vermont creates the nation’s first “energy-efficiency utility”

A March 1, 2000 decision by the Vermont Public Service Board transferred responsibility for the delivery of state-mandated energy-efficiency programs to Efficiency Vermont, a new “energy-efficiency utility.” The new utility is funded through a monthly charge on customers’ electricity bills.

Scudder Parker, who was at that time the director of the Energy Efficiency Division of the Vermont Department of Public Service, explained, “We believe this is the best way to remove the inherent conflict that utilities have between selling electricity and conserving electricity.”

2001 — Home Performance With Energy Star program launched

A new program to encourage energy-efficiency improvements in existing homes, Home Performance With Energy Star, was launched in New York in 2001. For years, dozens of utilities have offered subsidized energy audits for existing homes. But Home Performance With Energy Star was one of the first programs to offer subsidized energy audits by home performance contractors who were also qualified to perform energy retrofit work.

Studies have shown that homeowners are much more likely to undertake energy improvements if they are offered a “one-stop-shopping” option rather than a multi-step process involving an auditor and several different contractors (for example, an HVAC contractor and an insulation contractor). A joint program of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Home Performance With Energy Star is now active in 27 states.

2002 — Energy Star Homes programs established in all 50 states

Although the Energy Star Homes program was launched in 1995, it took until August 2002 for all 50 states to have an Energy Star Homes…

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  1. Dave Brach | | #1

    wheat ridge house
    Do you know if energy performance data for the wheat ridge house has been published?

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Yes, Dave, it has
    To read the NREL report including the Wheat Ridge data, just click on the link (the words "came forward") in the paragraph about the house.

  3. Amy Ring | | #3

    Hi Martin,

    I wanted to send you an email directly, but am not able to find an email for you on this site.

    I'm part of a green-tech startup called and we're building a comprehensive directory of energy rebates that's easy for consumers. Anyone in the country can go to one place (, enter their zip code and see all the relevant incentives, rebates and loan programs to upgrade their home's efficiency. Even though there’s a lot of money out there for homeowners, people aren’t taking advantage of it because there are so many different rebate programs at the federal, state, local levels, from utilities and from other sources.

    EnergySavvy helps educate homeowners about energy efficiency measures and then identifies utility conservation programs and government incentives to help pay for the work. We then connect homeowners wanting to make their houses more efficient to pre-screened contractors.

    It's great that President Obama increased funding for the weatherization program and that so many other initiatives are available at local levels already.

    I love your blog - especially the title!

    From a fellow nerd, I hope you'll check out our site, and send me any feedback you might have!

    Best Regards,
    Amy Ring
    [email protected]

    Thanks and Happy New Year!

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    Not familiar with EnergySavvy
    I'm not familiar with EnergySavvy. For many years, the best Web site for those interested in learning what rebates and incentives are available for weatherization or renewable energy has been the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy, also known as DSIRE.

  5. George Cahill | | #5

    I have to add one from
    the issue of energy is of relevance: resources, translated in the population issues worldwide (migrations, overall growth).

    changing our ways structurally by taking food, water and energy out of corporatism and financial equations might reverse quality of life issues for the better and even mere survival might be at stake. can do (the pointed at green initiatives) might be not good enough if they are realized along the lines of profit.

    Here is another article with some more top renewable energy news stories: (A little more up to date)


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