residential energy efficiency

There are some that say yes. There are some they say no. But if you read to the end the Europeans window are better.

Do Europeans Make Better Windows Than We Do?

Differences in testing protocols yield different U-factors, but do European manufacturers have a ‘secret sauce’?

Posted on Oct 15 2012 by Scott Gibson
It should come as no surprise that Europe, home of the Passivhaus standard, produces some outstanding windows. Some builders of high-efficiency houses in North America turn to European window manufacturers for their glazing, even though some U.S. and Canadian producers also offer high-performance products of their own.Is there a way to compare the performance data on windows from these two sources? That’s what Steve Young, now planning a Passive House in Climate Zone 5, would like to know.

“I have read many blogs and Q&A pages from this web site and I am still somewhat confused about European windows,” Young writes in Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor


Go there and read. More next week.


Yes I am a Headline Whore. But this is a very real nitty gritty get your hands dirty post. Most of the posts here are about environmental theories, or solar power writ large. But many environmental issues involve a compost pile and turning them, or washing off crud from recyclables. In this case if you have grass, and live in town you have to cut it. That means you have maintenance things to attend to. So here they are.

The Family Handyman

Lawn Tractor Maintenance Tips

Professional tips that prevent expensive repairs

Following the lawn tractor maintenance advice in your tractor’s manual is the best way to keep it humming along smoothly. But owner’s manuals usually only tell you basically what to do and when to do it—they seldom include the tips and real-world wisdom gained through experience. So we asked veteran mechanics which steps are the most important and how to make lawn tractor maintenance and tubeless tire repair faster and easier.

You’ll save too. Dealers typically charge more than $200 for routine maintenance that includes an oil change and new spark plugs and filters. But you can do all these things—and more—in just a few hours. A lawn tractor maintenance kit from your dealer (less than $75) might cost a few bucks more than buying parts separately but ensures that you get all the right stuff. And new tubes for a tubeless tire repair cost from $5 – $15.

Clean the mower deck

Remove the belt guards and blow off the debris that wrecks belts and pulleys. Scrape away any debris buildup under the pulleys with a screwdriver.

(thus it starts)


Go there and read a heck of a lot. More next week.


China is such a huge country and yet they make this list. We don’t and I find this sad. Still the US has made progress and I am ever hopeful.

Infographic: World’s Most Energy Efficient Countries

here is a sense of excitement in the wake of a momentous Paris Climate Agreement and adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals last year. The “energy revolution” is already underway, the consequences of which are far-reaching, transforming the way we do business, build our homes and live our lives.

But there’s an even more immediate solution available to all of us, and it will not only reduce our carbon footprint, but save money as well. It’s the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency. From the largest business to the smallest household, energy efficiency is the first step in building a sustainable future.

As individuals and businesses go, so goes an entire nation. Courtesy of the home improvement experts at, the infographic below illustrates the most energy efficient countries in the world, based on information from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). As this infographic demonstrates, one important aspect of promoting energy efficiency is government policy and incentives:


Go there and read. More next week.


The November issue of National Geographic magazine is totally devoted to Climate Change. Please read the whole thing, but here is as small taste.

How Do We Fix It?

Germany Could Be a Model for How We’ll Get Power in the Future

The European nation’s energy revolution has made it a leader in replacing nukes and fossil fuels with wind and solar technology.

By Robert Kunzig
Photographs by Luca Locatelli
Published October 15, 2015

Hamburg knew the bombs were coming, and so the prisoners of war and forced laborers had just half a year to build the giant flak bunker. By July 1943 it was finished. A windowless cube of reinforced concrete, with seven-foot-thick walls and an even thicker roof, it towered like a medieval castle above a park near the Elbe River. The guns protruding from its four turrets would sweep Allied bombers from the sky, the Nazis promised, while tens of thousands of citizens sheltered safely behind its impenetrable walls.

Coming in at night from the North Sea just weeks after the bunker was finished, British bombers steered for the spire of St. Nikolai in the center of the city. They dropped clouds of metallic foil strips to throw off German radar and flak gunners. Targeting crowded residential neighborhoods, the bombers ignited an unquenchable firestorm that destroyed half of Hamburg and killed more than 34,000 people. Towering walls of fire created winds so strong that people were blown into the flames. Church bells clanged furiously.

The spire of St. Nikolai, which somehow survived, stands today as a mahnmal—a memorial reminding Germany of the hell brought by the Nazis. The flak bunker is another mahnmal. But now it has a new meaning: An urban development agency (IBA Hamburg) and the municipal utility (Hamburg Energie) have transformed it from a powerful reminder of Germany’s shameful past into a hopeful vision for the future.


Go there and read 1000 pages. More next week.


A self revelation here. I started this because I was bored. Well, I am ending it because I am bored. From here on I am going to blog about what is topical and interesting TO ME. I have done this blog for 8 years and I deserve this freedom. But first, Wisconsin.


The Wisconsin Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources provides services to Wisconsin qualified residential households with energy assistance and weatherization needs.  For more information call 1- 866-HEATWIS (432-8947).

The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) administers the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Public Benefits Energy Assistance Program. LIHEAP and its related services help approximately 230,000 Wisconsin households annually. In addition to regular heating and electric assistance, specialized services include:

  • Emergency fuel assistance,
  • Counseling for energy conservation and energy budgets,
  • Pro-active co payment plans,
  • Targeted outreach services,
  • Emergency furnace repair and replacement.

Services are provided locally through:

  • County social services offices,
  • Tribal governments,
  • Private non-profit or other government agencies.

For more information on WHEAP, call 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947).

To log in to the WHEAP System click here

To log in to the Home Energy Plus System click here


The Wisconsin Weatherization Assistance Program (WisWAP) uses
energy conservation techniques to reduce the cost of home energy.
Correcting health and safety hazards and potentially life-
threatening conditions is the first consideration in WAP activities.


To log in to the WisWAP System click here



Go there and read. More next week.


As I continue my mad cap romp over the internet search for “home energy services”, this website is the next one I like.

Power Your Home for Less!

Take control of your electricity bill. Go solar.

Direct Energy Solar

Your Sun. Your Power. Your Way.TM

People everywhere are discovering the quality of our custom system design, the ease of our premier process, the accuracy of our system performance, and the peace of mind of our worry-free guarantees.

Why are People Going Solar?

  • Financial Savings — your monthly bill will be less that your current bill.
  • Energy Independence — lock in your own electricity rates!
  • Home Value Increases — solar panels have been shown to increase value.
  • It’s Great for the Planet — reduce your carbon footprint!

Why choose Direct Energy Solar?

We’re Up On Your Roof First
Before we present you with a sales proposal, we come to your home, measure how much sunlight your roof receives and custom-design your system. We don’t guess by looking at your house online. Because we take accurate measurements before you meet with one of our solar consultants, you will know exactly what your system will produce, and we guarantee it. You will also receive accurate forecasts of your solar payback and ROI.

Our Installation Process is Worry-Free
We want to make the process of going solar easy for you. Our team of solar experts personally handles every detail throughout your entire experience to turn a complex process into one that’s smooth and carefree for you. Our professionals take care of everything, from precise measurements of your roof to post-installation paperwork for grants and rebates, and everything in between. Our installation process is fast and efficient, so you’ll be saving in no time.


Go there and read. More next week.


I know I made that up, but I have been wondering all over the place in terms of Topics for this Blog. So, I decided to just type in that phrase and let Yahoo and Google go to town. For the next couple of weeks at least I will publish the results. I like these folks disclaimer right up front.


Go there and fool around. More next week


Nico the Ninja told them to save energy and they do.

A Ninja’s Quest to Save Energy

Nico loves saving energy and natural resources and wants to share his knowledge with you! Join Nico and learn the best practices of saving energy.

dot dot dot Unfortunately the actual site is graphics heavy and I am no good at copying such things, but I am going to put up the Teacher Guide. I think you will get the idea. dot dot dot

The Kids’ Guide to Saving Energy is a useful resource to incorporate into your elementary classroom’s curriculum to help students understand the importance of saving energy. Have your students complete the guide during class or as an extra credit homework assignment. Discuss the guide in class and have your students present to the class ways they saved energy at home. Below are some suggestions on how to incorporate each page of the guide into your lesson plan:
Page 2:® created Nico as a fun way to teach students about energy. As your students connect with Nico, be sure to tell students to check out the other kids’ guides and continue to explore with Nico!
Page 3:
Ask students to volunteer to read aloud the reasons why conserving energy is important. Then, review the following discussion questions with your class.
1. Do you think saving energy is important?
1. What is energy conservation?
2. What is energy efficiency?
3. How do you think we can conserve energy in the classroom?
Page 4:
Have the students define renewable and nonrenewable energy. Then have the students place each renewable energy source under the proper category. If students are unfamiliar with certain energy sources, have them look up and define the words. Then, have your students brainstorm ways in which we can use renewable resources for energy and discuss the advantages of renewable energy.


I also love that Nico is half of Nicodemus. Go there and read. More next week.


Why is Elon Musk worshiped so? He blows a rocket landing and everyone says it “Was nicely played”. In the passed week or so, his companies have both launched a space capsule about a mile in the air and brought it back to the ground my parachute. This was done 50 years ago by NASA. And announce a new battery for the residential housing market which is anything but new. He is a carny shill if ever I saw one. I shall continue this rant over at myspace/dougnicodemus  if anyone is interested.

Will Tesla’s Battery for Homes Change the Energy Market?

Tesla did not reveal the price of its larger batteries for businesses and utilities, but it will sell residential models for $3,000—$3,500

May 4, 2015 |By Davide Castelvecchi and Nature magazine | Véalo en español

Tesla Motors, the electric-car maker based in Palo Alto, California, has announced that it will sell versions of its battery packs directly to consumers to help to power their homes, as well as to businesses that run larger facilities, and utility companies.

At a press conference in Los Angeles on April 30, the company’s charismatic founder Elon Musk said that the firm’s lithium-ion batteries would enable economies to move to low-carbon energy sources. Solar energy sources are erratic—but by storing their energy and then releasing it when required, batteries could solve that problem, he said.

Many other companies also sell stationary battery storage for buildings and for power grids—but analysts say that the technology is still too expensive for widespread use. Here, Nature explores whether Tesla’s announcement might change the game.


Please go there and read. More next week.


I saw this article on a couple of weeks ago and tried to post it. When I went back to Digg to get the article and I could not find it, so I put up an older example. But then I put into Google “recent energy efficiency in the residential market” and there it was. So here it is.


‘Water-house’ Slashes Energy Needs



As UN climate negotiators gather in Geneva this week, one Japan-inspired Hungarian inventor believes he has found a revolutionary and inexpensive way to construct buildings that could slash humanity’s energy needs.

And the magic ingredient for Matyas Gutai’s invention is simple: water. It was launched after a long process of testing and patenting and a decade of research and development at a Japanese university.

“Imagine a building without insulation, yet with a perfect indoor thermal balance, thanks to the properties of water,” the 34-year-old told AFP.


Public Art Generates Renewable Energy, Beautifully

Play Video
While fossil fuel energy represents the most common class of power generation, solar power just made a big leap forward, hitting 46 percent efficiency.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images


Go there and read. More next week.


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