Thermal Imaging of a House in Cambodia (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)
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Grist recently ran a piece on lessons learned by by shadowing a home energy inspector. The author highlighted a number major lessons, including:
- It’s a social job.
- Comfort matters more than pocketbook savings – for some homeowners.
- It helps to see it and learn firsthand (especially for the blower-door test).
- Thermal imaging cameras are nifty.
- Attics should get insulation first, then walls and basements.
- Most progress depends on the homeowner.
- Utilities are driving the retrofit industry right now.
- Renters have split incentives.
You can read the entire article, including the explanations of the lessons learned, on the Grist website here.
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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has a fairly new website called Driving Demand for Home Energy Improvements.
The website lists a number of reports and case studies about how to improve demand for home energy improvements, and findings from utility and government retrofit programs.
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Highlighting a few recent stories…
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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
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Research by the California Public Utility Commission staff indicates that if enough existing lighting and lighting for new buildings incorporate the latest technologies, the state could achieve a 60 to 80 percent reduction in light-related energy use. New policies adopted by the commission promote that goal by encouraging utilities to rethink their current consumer subsidies, which tend to focus on compact fluorescents, in favor of the newer and more energy-efficient technologies. “We need to move on and look at how best to spend our resources on the next step of lighting,” said Theresa Cho, an aide to Commissioner Diane Grueneich. “Our goal is market transformation.” The shelves of Wal-Mart and other big-box stores are already full of compact fluorescents, she said – via the New York Times Green Blog.
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A trio of House Republicans, Joe Barton and Michael Burgess of Texas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, have introduced the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, which would repeal the section of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that sets minimum energy efficiency standards for light bulbs and would effectively phase out most ordinary incandescents – via the New York Times Green Blog.
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The Department of Energy’s inspector general released an audit on Wednesday showing that it is continuing to buy obsolete fluorescent lamps, bypassing the more modern technologies that it spent tax dollars to develop. Yet even more surprising, it is still buying the familiar incandescent bulbs in place of compact fluorescents. The department operates at 24 sites, and the auditors visited seven of them. “Despite the substantial benefits of C.F.L.’s, all of the sites we visited continued to purchase incandescent lights,” the report said – also via the New York Times Green Blog.
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photo credit: freefoto.com
Many of you may have heard about the goings-on around the widespread installation of smart energy meters in California (after all, there have been lawsuits, legislative hearings, and mandated independent meter testing, just for the Pacific Gas and Electric meter installations).
So why go through all that to install smart energy meters? Because they hold huge promise for helping consumers reduce their energy use and for adding flexibility and reliability to how the grid is managed.
What you may not have heard as much about is that smart water meters are also being installed – more than half of California water utilities have some smart meters in their districts (via the New York Times). Ideally, smart water meters would provide real-time (or near real-time) feedback on water use to both the water utility and the consumer.
Also, Oracle has apparently developed an interest in smart water meters as a potential future market, as they already sell software systems to water (and power) utilities (via GreenTechmedia).