This article was originally published in the September/October 1996 issue of Home Energy Magazine. Some formatting inconsistencies may be evident in older archive content.


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Home Energy Magazine Online September/October 1996


Termites Find a Home Under the Foam. Exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) were recently exposed as contributors to the development of moisture problems. To make matters worse, their moisture-trapping ability now appears to be a prime contributor to a termite problem. Orkin Pest Control has records of over 50 homes built with EIFS that have been infested. The problem is that the foam insulation sheathing starts in the ground, where moisture and termites are found, and rises up the outside of the house. In conventional exteriors, it is possible to kill off the termites by simply cutting their path to the ground. However, with EIFS, just cutting away the invasion path doesn't help, since EIFS provide food, moisture, and a comfortable temperature. The termites remain until the siding is stripped and replaced. Energy Design Update, June 1996, 235 W. 102nd St., Suite 7J, New York, NY 10025. Tel:(212)662-7428; Fax:(212)662-0039.

Having It Three Ways. Pacific Electric/ Solium Incorporated, of Massachusetts, is marketing a line of three-way compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and a three-way adapter for incandescent table and floor lamps. According to Solium, the brightest one, an electronically ballasted 38W lamp, is the highest-output CFL made, with qualities similar to incandescent bulbs. It burns at 600, 1,600, and 2,780 lumens, using 10, 19, and 38 watts respectively. As usual for CFLs, the lamp produces about four times the lumens per watt of comparable incandescent lights, and is rated to last 10,000 hours. The lamps are available separately from the three-way ballast, which is expected to last 40,000 hours. Energy and Housing Report, April 1996. 9124 Bradford Road, Silver Spring, MD 20901-4918. Tel:(301)565-ALFA; Fax:(301)565-FAXUS.

Volunteers Pay for Power from Sun. Two hundred customers of Detroit Edison will soon be voluntarily paying remarkably high electric rates to receive energy from a local photovoltaic (PV) station. To help pay the high cost of new solar technologies, customers have agreed to pay $6.59 per month for each 100 watts of solar power they receive. According to the utility, each 100 watts translates to about 140 kWh per year, working out to about 56¢/kWh. The utility is building the $250,000, 28.4 kW PV station with help from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Utility Photovoltaic Group as a market transition project. All parties involved hope that by ordering PV cells now, they can help create an economy of scale that will eventually make PV cost-effective. Today, PV costs about $8,800 per kW of installed capacity, comparing unfavorably with the $300 to $1,000 price for a kilowatt of conventional generation. Energy Conservation News, March 1996. 25 Van Zant Street, Norwalk, CT 06855-1781. Tel:(203)853-4266; Fax:(203)853-0348.

Energy Interactivity Elicits Industry Interest. As more utilities take interest in customer interactivity, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has signed up eight more utilities to take part in an Energy Information Services demonstration. Utilities from Finland to Southern California plan to provide 1,000 customers each with control center boxes on top of their televisions as of spring 1997. The control centers will use the Internet to communicate electric prices to customers, and will schedule appliance use with a Consumer Electric Bus-based home automation system. The previous phase of the project had installed controllers in 50 California homes, and the controllers communicated with the utility over the cable TV network. PG&E decided to move to the Internet for now because interactive cable TV does not have adequate new technologies. PG&E has three goals for this project: to develop an automation and conservation system that customers will be willing to pay for, to save money through automatic meter reading, and to aid their demand-side management program by facilitating load shifting. Technologies for Energy Management. 37 Broadway, Suite 1, Arlington, MA 02174-5552. Tel:(800)964-5118; Fax:(617)648-1950.


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