Letters: May/June 2014

May/June 2014
A version of this article appears in the May/June 2014 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
Click here to read more letters.


I have a minor quibble about a chart in a recent issue (see “Direct-Install Programs: Gateway to Market Transformation,” HE Jan/Feb ’14, p. 12). The percentages in the pie charts are a bit misleading. In most situations, a percentage is presented in a pre/post context. Retrofit xyz saved 19%. Looking at the top chart, it gives the appearance that homes with gas water heaters reduced gas consumption by 19%, reduced electricity consumption by 36%, and reduced water usage by 45%. Even if programs are fantastic, they are not able to achieve savings of that magnitude doing base-load measures; maybe a bar chart in the future?

Any chance of looking at the realized energy savings from these homes in the future, not just calculated models with engineering assumptions?

Dan Phillips
via e-mail

Author Brian Toll responds:

You are right that we would have been clearer with a bar chart and leaving out the percentages. We are documenting here the actual dollars saved, and adding in percentages made it more confusing than it needed to be. Those percentages represent the percentage of dollar savings allocated to each fuel type.

To answer your question about realized savings, our evaluation process for 2013 is not complete yet. The evaluation is performed by the state public service commission and is meant to determine whether people kept the items installed and if they used them for as long as we thought. Perhaps later this year Home Energy will report on the evaluation results.

(Laura Cherry Hill)

In Memoriam

Alan E. Silverstein

Alan Silverstein of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, died on Monday, January 20, after a long fight with cancer. Alan Silverstein was one of the true pioneers in the movement to foster an environmentally sustainable society. Since 1978, he and his wife, Laura Dubester, worked at the Center for EcoTechnology (CET). He served as codirector of CET with Laura from 1987 until he retired in 2011 to focus on his battle with cancer.

For CET, Alan designed and managed many innovative energy efficiency programs. One of the first was a 1986 pilot program in Northampton, Massachusetts, in partnership with Conservation Services Group (CSG) and Massachusetts Electric that demonstrated that energy efficiency could be as reliable as a power plant in delivering energy services. He also worked on the Energy Star Certified Homes program and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes program. He produced workshops, trade shows, and regional forums and events.

In 1981 Alan cofounded the Energy Federation, Incorporated (EFI), and in 1984 he cofounded CSG. Alan served on the board of EFI until his death.

Alan was a leader in the recycling movement. As a member of the Massachusetts Recycling Task Force, he helped to develop a statewide recycling strategy.

The sustainability movement in America has lost a real leader.

–Steven L. Cowell
Chairman and CEO
Conservation Services Group

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