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Energy: Where's it Come From and Where Does it Go?

Posted in: infographic

Ever wonder where our country's energy comes from and goes to? This fascinating map from the Lawrence Livermore Labratory shows in simple graphic terms where we generate energy and how much of it goes to various sectors. One of the fascinating aspects of this is everything you see in gray--"Rejected Energy." What this really means is waste. Particularly in electricity, as much as 2/3 of all the energy created is lost during transmission and via other means before it actually does any work. All the more reason to generate your electricity right at home on your roof. 

Video: Superinsulation Doesn't Work if the Windows Leak

Posted in: video

In this installment of Green Building Advisor's "Job Site Visits" series, building science guru Joe Lstiburek explains why insulating a house to the highest standards won't do much good if the home still has significant air leakage.

Infographic: How Big is Your Pile of Coal?

Posted in: cooling, infographic

Ever wonder how much coal is being burned to keep your home cooled with air conditioning in the summer? 

Wonder no more. EnergySavvy has an infographic that visualizes the coal it takes to keep an average home in the Southeastern U.S. comfortable with air conditioning, compared to the same house with an energy efficient air conditioner, and the same house after a comprehensive home energy upgrade.

Upgrade Your Refrigerator, Save Money Twice.

One of the biggest energy guzzlers in your home (besides, most likely, your thermal envelope, which lets expensive conditioned air escape through air leaks and poorly insulated walls) is the refrigerator. Upgrading it, believe it or not, can save you a bundle of money in the long run, as long as you don't simply put your old fridge down in the basement and plug it back in. Now, before you balk at the high upfront cost of replacing your fridge, let us explain why we (admittedly, energy-efficiency/penny-pinching geeks) think it's a good idea:

Energy Efficient Landscaping for Cooling Down.

On cold winter days, a ray of sun streaming into your house can be most welcome - a free source of heat. But what about in the summer, when those rays of sun and other, less-evident solar heat, seep into our already too-hot houses and become a costly nuisance? Well, what happens is that you lose money. But using landscaping (namely by planting trees) to shade your home can be a great way to lower energy costs.

5 Ways a Home Energy Audit Will Improve Your Life.

You may have heard about home energy audits before, but maybe you're not quite sure that you need one. After all, your home is relatively new. It's pretty comfortable most of the time, and your utility bills aren't that bad. Maybe you've switched out your incandescent light bulbs for CFLs, and upgraded to a low flow showerhead, so figure there's not much more you can do. 

Well, there's a lot more to home energy than lightbulbs and solar panels, and a home energy audit is the place to begin. Here are 5 ways that a home energy audit from a certified home energy auditor will likely improve your life -- right away.

Think You Need New Windows? Not So Fast.

It speaks to the marketing savvy of window manufacturers and installers that, when faced with drafty rooms or high energy bills, most homeowners typically think that the best solution would be new replacement windows. While energy efficient replacement windows will likely lead to improved comfort and lower utility bills, the truth is that there are many far more cost effective solutions to improve your home’s comfort and energy efficiency.

Is Your Insulation Working? Find Out with an Energy Audit.

Winter's coming. It's already heating season. So how do you save money on heating costs? You've got to own your heat. Simple as that. You've paid for all that warm air already, so it doesn't make much sense to waste it now.

A simple enough premise - it's the application that gets complicated. We (and most building science experts) strongly recommend air sealing and insulation as high priority measures to make your home use less energy, make you more comfortable, and make the planet happy.