Posts Tagged ‘Brett Knox’

What’s wrong with this picture? Efficiency before renewables usually makes the most sense.

January 29, 2011

Thanks to GreenHomes America’s Home Performance Training Manager, Jason Todd for passing along this photo which begs a few questions.  When we’re looking at home energy, we like to focus on energy efficiency before we starting adding on renewable energy sources like solar and wind.   As Brett Knox likes to repeat “Reduce before You Produce”.  This picture suggests that someone may have taken another path.

We’ve certainly talked a lot about icicles and ice damming here.  And the summary version is they are not good and indicate you’re wasting energy and money.  The snow melt patterns on the roof and the icicles suggest that this house is losing a lot of heat through it’s attic and roof.

The cost to correct this (with good air-sealing and insulation details) on most homes is generally less than the cost of a solar hot water system as pictured here (partially buried under snow in the center of the photo).  And the energy savings,  carbon reductions, and other benefits, are typically greater with the efficiency measures than with this system.  Further, correcting the heat loss problem helps prevent the possible roof and structural damage that can result from ice build up.  This is a case where the economic, environmental, and comfort advantage of efficiency make a lot more sense than starting with solar.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a fan of solar, and we install it.  Solar hot water makes sense for a lot of people, and it is a great entree into renewables.  Most of the time, though, renewable energy makes the most sense AFTER you’ve taken the low hanging fruit offered by energy-efficiency.  Efficiency First!

[BTW, regarding solar hot water systems, in many cases I prefer the flat-plate collectors show in this video, over the evacuated tube collectors pictured above.  Flat-plate collectors  tend to be less expensive, more durable, and we’ve seen fewer issues up north with snow building up and inhibiting the collector.  Conversely, a lot of people report that snow collects around the nooks and crannies of the evacuated tubes and doesn’t shed off easily.]

Thanks,
Mike

GreenHomes and ASI Hastings Bring Home Performance to San Diego

July 9, 2010

GreenHomes America welcomes San Diego-based ASI Hastings Heating and Air to the family.

San Diego Heating and Air Conditioning ContractorASI Hastings is the largest residential retail heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) enterprise in San Diego, with more than 65 employees. The 58-year-old firm has served over 500,000 homeowners in the San Diego area, and they will now add home performance retrofits to their services.

Home Performance contractors begin their work with a home energy audit, which uses advanced technology such as blower doors, infrared cameras, and computerized modeling to assess a home’s unique energy usage footprint and comfort issues. The energy audit diagnoses where the home is leaking air to the outside; measures the efficiency of cooling and heating systems; determines the effectiveness of insulation, ducts, windows, and doors; and checks combustion safety and gas leaks. After work is completed by in-house crews, the home energy audit is performed again to ensure issues are fixed and the project is successful.

GreenHomes President, Brett Knox notes, “With their excellent reputation, focus on quality, and solid operating foundation, ASI Hasting is the ideal partner for GreenHomes in the region.”

Read more about the GreenHomes/ASI Hasting venture in this news release.

Thanks,
Mike

Senate Hearing Puts HOME STAR’s Job-Creating Potential in the National Spotlight

March 11, 2010

Exciting developments on the HOME STAR front with bills being drafted in both the U.S. House and Senate. GreenHomes America is proud to be supporting these efforts with input based on our real-world experience delivering improvements to homeowners in New York, New Jersey, and California, improvements that not only help them stop wasting money and energy, but more them more comfortable in their homes.

And, as Brett Knox, the President of GreenHomes said, “New jobs are desperately needed in America and HOME STAR will provide them by accelerating the growth of an industry focused on making homes use less energy. HOME STAR is based on established quality assurance standards so homeowners can be confident they are getting quality improvements installed and they will start saving money on their utility bills immediately.”

In Washington DC, the HOME STAR Coalition today applauded Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for holding a hearing on the need for bi-partisan, job-creating legislation such as the proposed HOME STAR legislation.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to testify before the Senate to voice support for the Home Star program on behalf of the entire HOME STAR Coalition. HOME STAR is a win-win-win as it will put our nation’s skilled construction force back to work, benefit homeowners through comfort and energy efficient improvements to their existing homes, and result in long term energy efficiency gains. On behalf of the entire Home Star Coalition, I urge Congress to act quickly to commence this program,” said WellHome President Larry Laseter in his remarks before the Senate Committee.

HOME STAR is a market-driven, low-bureaucracy program that would create jobs fast by scaling the existing home energy efficiency improvement industry. HOME STAR would use incentives to spur more Americans to start making their homes more energy efficient. It would establish a $6 billion rebate program to encourage immediate investment in energy-efficient appliances, building mechanical systems and insulation, and whole-home energy efficiency retrofits. Consumers nationwide would embrace HOME STAR because it will be imple, accessible and help them save money.

“We believe the HOME STAR program will deliver both economic and environmental benefits,” said Andrew N. Liveris, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company. “Economically, it will stimulate the construction sector, among the hardest hit in the recession, while also giving relief to homeowners, who count energy as their largest cost after their mortgage. HOME STAR has the additional benefit of offering immediate consumer relief through direct rebates rather than tax credits to be accrued in a distant future.”  

“Home Star is an essential step to help Americans save on their energy bills while spurring the creation of good jobs and new industries that drive economic recovery and help our country achieve energy independence,” said Chris Chafe, Executive Director of Change to Win. 

HOME STAR would help to kick-start the comeback of our country’s hard-hit construction industry. It’s estimated the legislation would create 168,000 new jobs in construction and related industries over the next two years. This would have a big impact because one out of four construction workers is currently out of a job. President Obama highlighted HOME STAR’s ability to create jobs for construction workers and contractors during a speech on March 2 while visiting Savannah Technical College in Georgia.

“HOME STAR is the right investment for the country at the right time. Energy efficiency is not a partisan issue, as it helps move us toward greater energy independence and enhances our national security. This program is targeted at the largest marketplace in the country, existing homes, and will be create jobs in a new industry that will thrive for decades,” said Tracy Price, CEO of The Linc Group. 

The HOME STAR Coalition represents over 500 construction contractors, building products and mechanical manufacturers, retail sales businesses, environmental and energy efficiency groups and labor advocates from all 50 states who want to see the job creation and energy savings benefits of federal HOME STAR legislation realized.  A draft of the proposed legislation is on the Senate Energy Committee website.

ACI & the Home Energy Retrofit Summit

March 7, 2010

Coming up April 19-23 in Austin, TX is the annual ACI Conference, the best gathering of minds focused on energy-efficiency in existing homes.  The core confernce is a treasure trove of technical and best-practice information for business, utility program design, research and results in home energy retrofits.

This year, as a special high level event for policy makers, financial institutions, state and utility program managers, and entrepreneurs is the first annual Home Energy Retrofit Summit.  The Summit features a great line-up of topics and speakers, including Congressman Peter Welch, DOE Assistant Secretary Cathy Zoi, and GreenHomes’ own president, Brett Knox.  This is a must attend event for those on the leading edge in home energy efficiency.  See you there!

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Good Energy Audits are…Good!

January 16, 2010

Home energy audits are valuable to determine how your home is performing and where it needs attention. A good audit includes a blower door test and other diagnotics.

With a lot of interest in the ice forming on people’s roofs in recent weeks, we’ve gotten a few comments, here and offline, encouraging people to look beyond the attics.  And that’s absolutely right!  While an ice damming problem may be like a gaping wound that needs immediate attention, it’s important to remember that just because you got stitches last year does mean you shouldn’t get a full physical, too.

And for your home, the equivalent to a physical is a home energy audit.  And in the interest of recycling, I’m going to recycle much of a previous post on the subject.  Full a fuller description and details to watch for, I encourage you to visit the overview on our website, or check out this energy audit video.

You’ll see a lot of people hawking audits.  And rightly so.  A home energy audit, done right, help you focus on the real things likely to save you energy. (Hint: most of the time it is NOT new windows!)

Regarding the audit it’s important to get the right audit–accurate and actionable.

To be accurate, the audit needs to include a good inspection and a range of diagnostics including combustion safety, infiltration (using a blower door), duct leakage testing, and an infrared scan.  If the person conducting the audit is making cost-effectiveness recommendations, then they need to have a firm understanding of local installation costs by a quality contractor—if they don’t know these exact prices they can’t talk about cost effectiveness!

To be actionable, any recommendations for improvement need to be easily understood by you and easily communicated to an installation contractor who can fully execute the recommendations.  For example, if the recommendations are for attic air-sealing and insulation (you shouldn’t do the insulation without the air-sealing), the person doing the work needs to understand exactly what needs to be done and be able to deliver (assuming the recommendations are accurate—see above!).  

A simple “clipboard audit” or home energy rating won’t cover both of these for you, so make sure you get what you need!  And don’t waste your money on what you don’t!

For a bit more background and additional links, see my earlier posts, our website, including a video description.

Thanks,
Mike


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