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Before you open up your wallet for a home energy auditor, try our do-it-yourself home energy audit tool on the web—The HOME ENERGY SAVER. Enter info about your house and get a customized list of energy savings recommendations. HES will help you ID measures that an auditor can explore for you in greater depth.

Energy-Expert Blogs

Tips for keeping your house cool this summer

When it comes to cooling your house, there are a number of options beyond air conditioning. | Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/chrisgramly.

When it comes to cooling your house, there are a number of options beyond air conditioning. | Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/chrisgramly.

Although your first thought for cooling may be air conditioning, there are many alternatives that provide cooling with less energy use. A combination of proper insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, daylighting, shading, and ventilation will usually keep homes cool with a minimum of energy use in all but the hottest climates. Although ventilation should be avoided in hot, humid climates, other…

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Posted by Diane Chojnowski on May 22, 2017 at 6:30am

Preventing Confusion in the Lighting Aisle Starts with Planning

A simple tally of the number and types of lightbulbs in your house can prepare you for a trip to the lighting aisle. | Photo courtesy of Allison Casey

A simple tally of the number and types of lightbulbs in your house can prepare you for a trip to the lighting aisle. | Photo courtesy of Allison Casey…

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Posted by Diane Chojnowski on May 15, 2017 at 6:30am

Passive Solar Home Design

This North Carolina home gets most of its space heating from the passive solar design, but the solar thermal system (top of roof) supplies both domestic hot water and a secondary radiant floor heating system. | Photo courtesy of Jim Schmid Photography.

This North Carolina home gets most of its space heating from the passive solar design, but the solar thermal system (top of roof) supplies both domestic hot water and a secondary radiant floor heating system. | Photo courtesy of Jim Schmid Photography.

Passive solar design takes advantage of a building’s site, climate, and materials to minimize energy use. A well-designed passive solar home first…

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Posted by Diane Chojnowski on May 8, 2017 at 6:00am

Living Off The Sun, Or...No Electricity Bill

 

One year into having our rooftop solar panels installed here in Portland Oregon, we’re living off the sun. That’s to say, we producing slightly more electricity than we’re using. Yippee! (The wonks among us call this achieving net zero.)

What's the secret to living off the sun?The secret is to use electricity sparingly. Solar energy is created in real time, and therefore supplies a slow, modest trickle of energy. Coal, in contrast, took millions of years to form in the earth, and yet is our culture’s main source of electrical energy. That’s unfortunate, because burning coal and other fossil fuels is what’s driving climate change, also…

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Posted by Diane Chojnowski on May 1, 2017 at 7:30am

Case Study: Experiences in an All-LED Home

The kitchen is illuminated with ten 12W ceiling can lights. The two pendant lights are 3W LEDs. LED equivalents were not yet available for the fluorescent undercounter lights.  

This all started in August 2010 when we discovered that a rat had eaten gaping holes in the outlet hose of our dishwasher. When all the damage was counted, we were looking at a complete remodel of our kitchen area, covered in part by our homeowner’s policy.

Eventually this led to a complete energy revamp of our home, and, very pleasingly, a dramatic drop in our electrical bill—from roughly $400 per month on average in 2008 to roughly $60 per month in 2012 (even including the cost of a swimming pool filter pump, which must run five hours per day, 365 days per year).…

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Posted by Diane Chojnowski on April 24, 2017 at 6:42am

Case Study: Aiming for Net Zero Energy in Florida

The north side of the Parker-Shepperd house after remodeling. Note from the “before” photo (below) that sloped roof trusses were added to accommodate insulation and PV panels, and that an addition pushed out into the original front porch.

Owners: Danny Parker and Lisa Shepperd

Location: Cocoa Beach, Florida

Climate Zone: Hot-Humid…

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Posted by Diane Chojnowski on April 17, 2017 at 7:03am

 
 
 

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