Alan Meier is senior executive editor of Home Energy.
The lighting efficacies of LEDs have been rising steadily and are poised to overtake CFLs. Fluorescents and CFLs still outshine LEDs with respect to general applications and cost of light, but LEDs are already superior for some niche applications and offer many new exciting illumination opportunities. Now we need to ensure that the reputation of this new energysaving lighting source won’t be undermined by a tidal wave of shoddy products. Tests for quality, ... [continue reading]
Home Energy Monitors, that is, devices that display a home’s energy consumption have been touted as Silicon Valley’s contribution to the national energy conservation effort. A Home Energy Monitor (or HEM) constantly informs the occupants of their home’s electricity and gas consumption, along with conversions to monthly costs and comparisons with previous periods. Some models can (or will) communicate with heating and air conditioning systems. These devices will enable ... [continue reading]
Photo by Jovan Peric - Fotolia.com Homes with high energy consumption are likely to provide us more opportunities to save energy. If that’s true, then why don’t we see more programs and businesses geared toward the high users? [continue reading]
Can growing marijuana change the way homes use electricity? In rural Humboldt County, in far-northern California, there’s no doubt that it can. Figure 1 tracks average monthly residential electricity use in Humboldt County and in California. Until the mid-1990s, these two values were almost identical. But after 1996, Humboldt County’s electricity use suddenly turned upward. What happened? In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, which legalized the medical use of marijuana. In practice, Proposition 215 ... [continue reading]
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and nowhere is this adage truer than with the assurance of a manufacturer’s compliance with energy efficiency standards and endorsement programs. If any link is broken in this process, then it is impossible to “haul up” those energy savings for the consumer. The Department of Energy (DOE) the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are finally taking actions to repair some of the ... [continue reading]
Sometimes it’s only possible to recognize progress by turning around and seeing how far you’ve traveled since the journey began. That’s certainly the case for the energy-conservation industry. Gradually an industry devoted to improving home performance is taking shape. The number of technologies, techniques, and tools dedicated to reducing energy use, improving comfort, and fixing building defects continues to grow. [continue reading]