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Why Is Clark Howard Giving Bad Energy-Saving Advice?

 
clark howard diy ways save energy bill

Clark Howard is the penny pincher's guru. My wife loves his radio show and website for all the money-saving tips he provides. Naturally, anyone trying to help people save money at home has to address energy use, and Howard does, too. Unlike some others, though, he's generally well educated on the topic because he's hung around the Southface Energy Institute enough to know the basics. (I don't know if he ever used the clip, but he filmed me teaching how to do a blower door test there a few years ago.)

Stockton Project Demonstrates Huge Home Energy Savings

 
bruce wilcox john proctor dry climate forum 2014

At the Forum on Dry Climate Home Performance earlier this year, I got to hear three building science experts talk about a really cool research project they've been working on in Stockton, California. Bruce Wilcox, John Proctor, and Rick Chitwood (Wilcox and Proctor shown in photo at left) filled us in on the Stockton project, which now has two years of data and shows some really impressive results.

Fixing an Old House? Follow Einstein's Advice

 
Albert Einstein knew that planning ahead was the key to solving problems.

I get a lot of questions from people asking how they should go about fixing their homes. Sometimes it's specific (What's the best way to insulate my kneewalls?), and sometimes it's a hands up in the air, With all these problems, where do I start?  I'll focus on the latter today and let Albert Einstein provide the guidance you need.

Confessions of a Building Science Zealot

 
huntington condo building science problems

Hi. My name is Allison, and I'm a building science zealot. I preach the gospel of building science, yet in my own life, I fall short of the perfection I exhort others to attain. Yes, I once built a green home that had many of the features I promote here, but if you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that my current residence is far from perfect. How so? Let me count the ways.

Don't Try This Recycling Trick at Home!

 
house all glass front windows repurpose inhabitat

I confess that, back in the '80s, I might have done the same thing this couple did. I remember reading Mother Earth News and Practical Homeowner magazine articles about folks who collected discarded materials to use in their existing homes or to build a new one. Take that man in Colorado, for example, who had a materials stash big enough to build a whole, nice-sized house for only $5000. That was cool! Since then, however, I've learned why I would have regretted building a house resembling what you see below.

Why Are Your New Homes Missing out on the $2000 Tax Credit?

 
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Psssst. Want a $2000 tax credit for that energy efficient new home you're building? A lot of home builders have taken advantage of this incentive since it was introduced in 2005. (37,506 homes got that $2000 in 2010 alone.) The requirements haven't been so difficult for builders who do proper air sealing, use better-than-code windows, and install high-efficiency HVAC equipment. But then Congress made what seems like an insignificant change when they renewed the tax credit.

Passive House — The Only Place Where Real Innovation Is Happening?

 
passive house conference joe lstiburek opening talk history

Last week, Joe Lstiburek gave the fifth annual twitterview from his crawl space. (When he gets back from sailing this week, Peter Troast of Energy Circle has promised to publish the transcript.) One of the pearls of wisdom dispensed by Joe was that, "Passive House is the only place where real innovation is happening."

Why Does the US Green Building Council Seem So Out of Touch?

 
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Yesterday I read a short interview with Rick Fedrizzi,* the CEO of the US Green Building Council (USGBC), and it got me to thinking about that organization. They're probably the largest, most well known green building organization in the world. Their flagship program, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), is likewise probably the largest, most well known green building program in the world. Many in the building science and green building community, however, think the organization and the program are off-track.

A Good Window Is Still a Poor Wall

 
building envelope windows heat air moisture control layers

Windows. The bane of the building scientist's existence. As we try to control the flow of moisture, air, and heat, a lot of our problems occur at windows. If the flashing's not done properly, they leak water. If they're not sealed around the edges, they leak air. And because they're windows, they leak heat.

This Playground Slide Can Give You a 'Feel' for Building Science

 
radiant barrier playground slide mad men dad 1962

Remember those old metal playground slides? Yeah, I realize I'm dating myself here, but I'm not embarrassed to have been in utero when the first episode of Mad Men was set. In fact, if you look at this photo of my dad with me and my sister from 1962, you may find a bit of a resemblance to Don Draper. (Not me - my dad!) At the time, my dad worked for a sheet metal company in Houston rather than an ad agency in New York, though.

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