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The Colonoscopy of Energy Efficiency

Earlier this week, the Shelton Group released its seventh annual Energy Pulse report, which has 450 pages of analysis, charts, graphs, and crosstabs based on the survey of 1,502 Americans.  I haven’t seen the $5,000 report but would like to share some takeaways from a release and executive summary.  Particularly, of the respondents, 42% had installed high-efficiency windows, 39% had installed extra insulation, 37% had installed higher efficiency HVAC systems, and 24% had installed a higher efficiency water heater.

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TreeHouse Home Improvement in Austin

This month, to provide a new and smarter approach to the home improvement store experience, TreeHouse opened its first retail location in Austin, Texas. The company will offer an assortment of curated materials and products, such as paints, floor and wall coverings, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, cleaning supplies, storage and organization options, and solar power products, as well as services for flooring, countertop, door and window, smart home system, and solar installations.

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CertainTeed Intros New Apollo Solar Roof

During Greenbuild in Toronto, CertainTeed Corporation introduced a new solar photovoltaic system called the Apollo Solar Roofing System.  Apollo skips the rack and mount for a seamless profile that integrates with standard roof shingles.  Each 12-pound module has 14 high-efficiency, polycrystalline silicon solar cells that soak up the sun and convert it to energy to power the underlying home.

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Solar PV Install Costs Continue to Drop

solar panels in a field of the sun

The value proposition of solar energy is driving great opportunities for homeowners looking to invest in sustainable power production.  In fact, the average installed cost of a solar PV system completed in 2010 fell by 17% from the prior year, and the cost has also dropped an additional 11% so far in 2011, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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Just Right and Airtight [Building Science]

In an article that’s sure to raise the hackles of the Passive House crowd, Joseph Lstiburek, a principal of Building Science Corporation, says the Passivhaus airtightness requirement – 0.6 ach @ 50 Pa — “doesn’t seem to be based on anything that makes any sense.”  He suggests the following: “if you get below 3 ach @ 50 Pa the comfort problems go away, things become predictable, and you save energy. Add the controlled ventilation piece and the combustion safety piece and nobody dies and nobody gets sick and life is good.”  In other words, remove large holes in the building envelope, install a controlled ventilation system, and use sealed combustion or power vented appliances. 

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New Ways to Use Less Energy [WSJ]

The Wall Street Journal discusses some of the latest green building practices that help homeowners save energy.  The four the author focuses on are blown fiberglass insulation (expensive yet cheaper than spray foam), heat pump water heaters (pricey systems that use heat from the air), electronic monitors (gadgets to cut unneeded energy usage), and concrete countertops (an affordable local surface option).  Read the article:

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