This article was originally published in the March/April 1997 issue of Home Energy Magazine. Some formatting inconsistencies may be evident in older archive content.


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Home Energy Magazine Online March/April 1997


CFLs Go Big-Time. Worldwide, sales of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) reached 240 million units in 1995, a 15% increase over the previous year. Sales growth was even higher in the rapidly developing countries of Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. In Eastern European countries like Kyrgyzstan, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, new factories and utility programs have helped boost sales 50% above 1994 levels. Indonesia's public utility is installing 200,000 CFLs nationwide, and Thailand is distributing 1.5 million of the lamps. Developing nations and their lenders at the World Bank are finding CFLs, and other types of demand-side management, necessary as populations demand electricity faster than new plants can be built. India, for example, expects demand for electricity to grow 10% per year for the next ten years. IAEEL Newsletter, Winter 1996. IAEEL, c/o DOEE, NUTEK, S-117 86 Stockholm, Sweden. Tel: +46 8 681-95-71; Fax: +46 8 681-95-85; E-mail:

Multifamily Money. HUD has begun lending money to finance energy conservation capital improvements in eligible HUD-insured and HUD-assisted multifamily housing. The loans, called AHELP, for Affordable Housing Energy Loan Program, will be administered by Energy Capital Partners of Boston. Coalition Clearinghouse, November 1996. Midcoast Coalition for Affordable Housing, c/o CEI, P.O. Box 268, Wiscasset, ME 04578. Tel:(207)882-7552; Fax:(207)882-7308.

Michiganders Sue over Flues. When Michigan Consolidated Gas Company (MichCon) offered energy efficiency rebates and loans for high-efficiency gas furnaces, they thought homeowners would be grateful. But now 45,000 homeowners who bought the units have joined in a class action lawsuit against the utility. The problem is that quite often, original furnaces were vented through the same flue pipe as a water heater. When the furnace was removed from that flue, the water heater exhaust alone wasn't always able to make it to the top of the flue before it started to condense. Worse yet, removing the furnace reduced pressure in the flue enough to cause backdrafting in some homes. The consumers are demanding inspections at utility expense, and want the utility to warn homeowners of possible problems before funding any more furnace replacements. Energy Design Update, January 1997. 235 W 102nd St., Suite 7J, New York, NY 10025. Tel: (212)662-7428; Fax:(212)662-0039; E-mail:

Manufactured Homes Get Inefficient. Manufactured homes in the Pacific Northwest were made more efficient under a utility program that ran from 1992 to 1995. Under the program, efficiency measures were installed at the factory but paid for by utilities, so all new manufactured homes had the measures. However, Idaho researchers have found that since the program ended, only 35% of new units in that state have been built to the high efficiency standards. In a site survey of 41 homes, Bob Minter of the Idaho Department of Water Resources found that setup errors caused problems in marriage lines, crossover ducts, exhaust venting, air sealing, ventilation, and drainage. Technologies for Energy Management, 37 Broadway, Suite 1, Arlington, MA 02174-5552. Tel:(617)641-5118; Fax:(617)648-1950.

Icynene: Not a Vapor Retarder. According to the Alaska Craftsman Home Program, polyicynene insulation is a good insulator but fails as a vapor retarder. While vapor retarder materials must have perm ratings below 1, 5 inches of Icynene Insealation has a perm rating of 10. The foam is able to resist moisture penetration when a house is under neutral pressure, but moisture is able to pass through the foam with the help of differential vapor pressures. Thus, standard moisture control methods, meaning those used with fiberglass insulation, are recommended when installing polyicynene. Northern Building Science, Sept/Oct 1996. Alaska Craftsman Home Program, Incorporated, 900 West Fireweed Ln., Suite 201, Anchorage, AK 99503-2509.

Indiana DSM Grows Like Cornstalks. Indiana's largest electric utility, PSI Energy, has agreed to fund demand-side management (DSM) programs until the turn of the century. In an agreement with the state's Citizen Action Coalition and its Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, PSI has agreed to let the free market push conservation for customers with over 500 megawatts of demand, but to retain ratepayer-financed DSM for residential and small commercial and industrial users. PSI will spend 4% of its annual revenues, $43.6 million, on DSM, with $7.7 million paying for incentives and support services for these residential and small commercial and industrial users. This will lead to a 20% increase in the number of customers who can use the DSM program, while maintaining current programs for low-income ratepayers. The agreement is the result of Indiana's continued commitment to integrated resource planning, in which long-term costs are considered when choosing between conservation and new generating capacity. Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy Project, 215 Pennsylvania Avenue 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20003. Tel:(202)546-4996; Fax(202)547-7392; E-mail:

Termites Chew Through Energy Code. The Model Energy Code (MEC) from the Council of American Building Officials (CABO) has long required rigid foam insulation around slab edges. However, home builders have had it up to their top plates with termites infesting the foam. They have convinced the national MEC committee to remove the insulation requirement for unheated slabs in areas with very heavy termite infestation. This includes almost all of California, east Texas, all Gulf Coast states, Georgia, and South Carolina. It is possible to avoid termite infestation in foam by using metal flashing over the insulation or insecticide-infused insulation. Energy Design Update, December 1996. 235 W 102nd St., Suite 7J, New York, NY 10025. Tel:(212)662-7428; Fax:(212)662-0039; E-mail:


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