A program in Belgium is using aerial thermographic infrared maps of neighborhoods to give folks a contextual sense of their home’s heat loss. On the image above, the blue homes are losing much less heat than the red ones and are better insulated. Viewing this kind of map gives folks a sense of how their home’s insulation levels compare to that of their neighbor’s home.
You can click the image above to watch the video (it will take you to another page), or watch it here. Unfortunately, you will have to watch a brief ad before you can see the video clip.
This post is part of our Friday video series.
Reuters reports that US building officials nationwide have voted to support the first building codes that require 30 percent more efficient buildings for every state under the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code.
Delegates also voted to eliminate the weaker Energy Chapter of the International Residential Code, supplanting it with a single nationwide uniform energy code for residential and commercial buildings.
Although some states, like California, have long had energy efficiency requirements in building codes, with a resulting flat-lining in home energy use in the state since the 1970s (to about half the average US use) most states have little or no requirements for reducing energy use. The International code has been the lowest common denominator; compelling safety, but little else in building codes. The minimum standards allowed energy to be wasted in heating and cooling homes in non compliant states by not requiring weather tight walls, roofs, windows or doors.
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“It is notable that the votes that will have the most profound impact on national energy and environmental policy this year weren’t held in Washington or a state capital, but by governmental officials assembled by the International Code Council (ICC) in Charlotte, NC,” said William Fay, Executive Director of the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition.
You can read the entire article here.
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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Why does the Department of Energy care what kind of showerhead you have? Well, unless you shower exclusively in cold water, the more water you use, the more energy is needed to heat that water.
The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) states that a showerhead manufactured after January 1, 1994, can deliver no more than 2.5 gallons per minute at a flowing water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch. However, the term “showerhead” was interpreted by manufacturers to be a device sending water over a bather. Each device was considered to count separately and separately needed to meet the standard.
The draft interpretive rule published by the DOE clarifies that “a showerhead is any plumbing fitting that is designed to direct water onto a bather regardless of the shape, size, placement, or number of sprays or openings that it may have.” All nozzles would need to jointly meet the 2.5 gallon per minute standard. This primarily will affect high-end showerheads that deliver much more than 2.5 gallons per minute.
The entire draft interpretive rule can be found on the DOE website here.
At this point, the DOE is planning enforcement actions only against the manufacturers of the offending showerheads. Some of the products that manufacturers have stopped selling as a result of letters from DOE include the “Shower Rose” from Grupo Helvex, which delivered 12 gallons a minute. The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors – National Association (PHCC-NA) is up in arms over the new interpretation of the definition and is trying to spin the new definition as having a negative impact on water conservation (though no reason is given in this article).
An article at BuildingGreen.com goes into more detail about reactions from plumbing manufacturers, the water conservation community, and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
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For readers in the East Bay, East Bay Municipal Utility District offers self-survey kits to help check flow rates and find leaks and free low-flow showerheads (2.0 gallons per minute).
Readers in San Francisco can schedule a free water use evaluation and free low-flow showerheads through the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
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