This article was originally published in the March/April 1998 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 1998


Certified Window Installations. Window certification labels have been around for years, but only recently have window installers been getting certified. In Canada, the Saskatchewan-based Window Wise program is making life a little easier for homeowners who want to know that their high-quality windows are getting equally good installation. They will be able to ask installers whether they are certified by the Siding and Window Dealers Association of Canada's Window Wise. Certified installers will have to go through standardized training, and their work will be subject to random quality control inspections. David Mitten of Window Wise says, About one in every five installations by certified installers will be inspected. The installers will be expected to use certified windows, with Canadian Energy Ratings of -10 or better (look for an upcoming article on the Canadian window rating system). Under the Sun, Fall 1997. Libbey-Owens-Ford Company, 811 Madison Ave., P.O. Box 0799, Toledo, OH 43697-0799. Tel:(419)247-4833; Fax:(419) 247-4517; E-mail:

And Certified Duct Installations. North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is a certification program supported by a variety of institutes, utilities, and trade associations. Its goal is to give HVAC technicians consistent training in high-quality work, and to give customers a reliable indication of technician quality. The program was rolled out last winter, and has since given exams to over 1,000 HVAC technicians. Those who pass the exam get to wear the NATE badge. NATE hopes that as the program becomes more widely known, certified installers will have a competitive advantage. EPRI End-Use News, Summer 1997. EPRI, P.O. Box 10412, Palo Alto, CA 94303. Tel:(650)855-2661.

Damp-Spray Fiberglass? Blown-in fiberglass has long been a popular method for quickly and inexpensively insulating attics. Damp-spray cellulose has been widely touted for its ability to fill wall cavities despite the most oddly shaped obstructions. Now Guardian Fiberglass is producing damp-spray fiberglass under the brand name UltraFit. This material has a slightly higher R-value than fiberglass batts--a 2 x 4 stud bay is typically R-14, rather than R-13. Like damp-spray cellulose, the fiberglass can be used to fill voids around conduit, outlets, and other details. However, there are still unanswered questions. While dense-pack cellulose is often used to improve a home's airtightness, no one has tested UltraFit's effectiveness for that purpose. Further, the manufacturer is still testing to find out whether the blowing process causes problematic particulates to go airborne. The advantage to the system is that it uses the same blower that many fiberglass-based insulation firms already use to blow dry fiberglass in attics. Fine Homebuilding, Oct/Nov 1997. Fine Homebuilding, 63 S. Main St., Newtown, CT 06470-5506. Tel:(800)283-7252; Fax:(203)270-6751; E-mail:

Appliance Standards Go Global. European Union appliance makers have signed binding agreements on washing machines, televisions, and VCRs. By 2000, all must be 20% more efficient than those sold in 1994. Technologies for Utility Success (TUS) also points out that it might be more desirable just to get people to watch 20% less television. In Japan, all consumer appliances are facing standards that would increase efficiency by 8%-30%. The standards are part of a package of greenhouse gas emission controls trying to bring Japan's emissions below 1990 levels by 2012, as required by the Framework Convention on Climate Change. The standards would increase home insulation by 20% and would require HVAC controls to be hard-wired so they could not cool rooms below 82°F (28°C) or heat them above 68°F (20°C). And yes, the Japanese package will ask people to watch less television. Industrial energy use is also supposed to decrease, and parked cars will not be allowed to idle. TUS, Nov 1997. Cutter Information Corporation, 37 Broadway, Suite 1, Arlington, MA 02174-5552. Tel:(800)964-5118; Fax:(800)888-1816; E-mail:

Agriboard Takes Off. Home Energy previously reported on Agriboard Industries of Fairfield, Iowa (Amber Panels of Grain, July/Aug '96, p. 30). The company produces structural insulated panels filled with renewable wheat straw, rather than foam derived from fossil fuels. The company has been shipping panels since February 1997, and has often been sold out. Company president Barry Sullivan reports that Agriboard may open a second plant in California, where rice straw is inexpensive. Energy Design Update, Nov 1997. Cutter Information Corporation, 37 Broadway, Suite 1, Arlington, MA 02174-5552. Tel:(800)964-5118; Fax:(800)888-1816; E-mail:

Keeping Warm in the North. With strict rules on ventilation and airtightness, Minnesota's proposed residential energy code exceeds the 1995 Model Energy Code. However, the codes won't be pushing to the level of Canada's strict R-2000 code just yet. Minnesota's code was to equal R-2000 as of this year, but the state's Department of Public Service now intends to eliminate that rule. The proposed energy code is on the DPSV Web site, Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) Update, Nov 1997. BCAP, 1200 18th St. NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20036. Tel:(202)530-2221; Fax: (202)331-9588; E-mail:


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