The first day of the PassivHaus conference in Dresden showed some clear similarities in the Home Performance Industry in Europe and America as well as some huge differences. Similarities: 1. The industry on both continents is developing with a strong reliance on subsidies, either government grants or tax credits, or utility rebates. Testing and certification is essential to this approach and is a backbone of both industries. 2. The early adopters of deep energy retrofits are usually very expensive. One home that was showcased today had a $574,000 Euro price tag for the retrofit. This obviously takes significant subsidy or a "true believer"...Continue Reading!
On Tuesday's Webinar, I relented and gave a "Top 10" list of Home Performance Measures. As I explained, the danger in this is that not all houses are the same and so they rarely fit perfectly into this type of prescriptive thinking. Even more dangerous is to rely on the list and because everything is checked off, not bother thinking about, "What else could I do?" My challenge was to have everyone think of what they would put on their Top 10. What to add, What to subtract? Even before the end of the webinar, my...Continue Reading!
That was exactly the question that one of the readers from Sacramento asked me last week. I thought it was a good question and worthy of writing an article about. But first the disclaimer and a few caveats. Us humans love lists, especially Top 10 lists. They can be an aid to thinking, especially for the one who has to think them up ... but they can also limit the thinking process if you just follow the 10 point recipe, without thinking why each of the Top 10 made the cut, and whether those same criteria are...Continue Reading!
Have you ever "day dreamed" or fantasized, "What if life circumstances changed & you re-located across the country and got to choose a new place to live?" I know that if you're reading this blog, you're at least somewhat of a Home Performance Geek like me. And I know that only a few of us in this industry actually live in our "Home Performance Dream Home"…. So a little day dreaming and "What If?" thinking is in order for most of us. Pretty, You Bet! Home Performance? Not So Much. A couple months ago this Home Performance Day Dream began to...Continue Reading!
A Southern California "Green Renovation Home" just got a lot of press and a Congressional Award.... and then the "rest of the story" came out. The home was called Net Zero but actually turned out to be an Energy Hog. What Happened? Here's the article (From a British source.... seems to be arm's length observation) This is exactly the type of press that we dont need in our emerging industry. What can we do to prevent it? See my previous post HERE, agreeing with Henry Gifford that checklist based renovations can miss a few seemingly small pieces...Continue Reading!
How deep can you go in Deep Energy Renovation? Can you cut the utility bill 50%? 75%? 90%? Can you go all the way to Zero? Where the energy bill is Zero? Can you go even further, and become an energy producer? Of course with enough renewables such as photovoltaic solar or wind power, we can go all the way to Zero and even become a net energy producer. Of course it's possible, especially if you have an unlimited budget. Maybe a research grant or...Continue Reading!
Today we had an Open House at a newly renovated home. Several people commented about the brochure that we provided, so I decided to post it. If you click the images they will expand to full size. It's our standard 4 page brochure which is more extensive than the standard one page photocopy provided by most realtors. Each page has a purpose and there is a whole series of slides in PlanetSavers University explaining why we feel it's worth the extra effort. The first page mentions my Realtor, but just barely. Pictures are obviously important but it also includes...Continue Reading!
The newest GreenEarthEquities Ducted Mini Split Heat Pump system should overcome the last bit of American Resistance to the use of the superior Mini Split technology with its ducted delivery to every room. (Mini Splits are the standard in the rest of the world and are even sold in convenience stores in Asia and Europe but are shunned in America) Its for sure the only one its kind as it was designed on the hood of my truck by Gary Richardson and myself. It will be the centerpiece of our FALL 2009 HOME TOUR of GreenEarthEquities projects that will be held...Continue Reading!
Its been fun this last year listening to people tell me it's impossible to do complete remodels with deep energy retrofits and sell them at a profit. "Difficult anytime and Impossible in this economy," they say. But since that is exactly what we've developed over this last year, it leads to an interesting conversation. It happened again today. An old friend and I were re-connecting and in the catching up, he expressed surprise that I was flipping houses with full energy retrofits. "I didn't think you could do that in this market." Where does all this negativity and pessimism come...Continue Reading!
Luelle and I just got back from spending a week grandparenting in Cancun, Mexico. Taking the 3 year old Noah and 18 month old Abigail swimming through the underground river at Xcaret was the highlight along with much sand construction and time in the kiddie pool.... Wow, was it hot. Over 90 on both temperature and humidity. So I got to see first hand the "Other Reason For Air Conditioning" taking moisture out of the air. Water condensed on the Outside of bus windows when air conditioning was turned on in the bus. And the cold...Continue Reading!