Efficiently Cooling Your Home – Air conditioning the old fashioned way

I know, there are better ways to cool your house than you cool your food. Nonetheless it must be discussed for the people who just can’t do it any other way.


EnergyWise House: Energy-Efficient Air ConditioningMany people buy or use air conditioners without understanding their designs, components, and operating principles. Proper sizing, selection, installation, maintenance, and correct use are keys to cost-effective operation and lower overall costs.

Related Showrooms

Cadet – Zonal heating solutions for your home from Cadet
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Trane – Enjoy perfect heating, cooling and beyond year-round.
WholeHouseFan.com – Cool Your Home with a Whole House Fan

Air conditioners employ the same operating principles and basic components as your home refrigerator. An air conditioner cools your home with a cold indoor coil called the evaporator. The condenser, a hot outdoor coil, releases the collected heat outside. The evaporator and condenser coils are serpentine tubing surrounded by aluminum fins. This tubing is usually made of copper. A pump, called the compressor, moves a heat transfer fluid (or refrigerant) between the evaporator and the condenser. The pump forces the refrigerant through the circuit of tubing and fins in the coils. The liquid refrigerant evaporates in the indoor evaporator coil, pulling heat out of indoor air and thereby cooling the home. The hot refrigerant gas is pumped outdoors into the condenser where it reverts back to a liquid giving up its heat to the air flowing over the condenser’s metal tubing and fins.

Central Air Conditioners
Central air conditioners circulate cool air through a system of supply and return ducts. Supply ducts and registers (openings in the walls, floors, or ceilings covered by grills) carry cooled air from the air conditioner to the home. This cooled air becomes warmer as it circulates through the home; then it flows back to the central air conditioner through return ducts and registers. A central air conditioner is either a split-system unit or a packaged unit.
In a split-system central air conditioner, an outdoor metal cabinet contains the condenser and compressor, and an indoor cabinet contains the evaporator. In many split-system air conditioners, this indoor cabinet also contains a furnace or the indoor part of a heat pump. The air conditioner’s evaporator coil is installed in the cabinet or main supply duct of this furnace or heat pump. If your home already has a furnace but no air conditioner, a split-system is the most economical central air conditioner to install.Today’s best air conditioners use 30 percent to 50 percent less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the mid 1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20 percent to 40 percent of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.But then there is new technology out there:


Get rid of the bug spray because an air conditioning system that kills bugs and gives you a better night’s sleep has been revealed. The innovative new inverter wall mounted air conditioning systems, that have been scientifically proven to provide a better night’s sleep.

Samsung recently conducted extensive research in Good Sleep technology involving the Bukyung National University, Busan, Korea which revealed that a room’s temperature should change in accordance to sleep patterns, to achieve longer periods of deep sleep and ensure an optimal night’s rest. The Samsung Good Sleep 2 air conditioner control program adjusts temperature profiles to the most comfortable according to the three stages of sleep. 


Smart Energy Saving Air Conditioner

By Manisha Kanetkar | Monday | 19/03/2007

Australian company Advantage Air has developed a smart reverse cycle air conditioning system that not only saves on your energy bill but is also able to be fully integrated into a home automation system.

According to Advantage Air’s Walter Kimble, all parts of the GEN III air conditioning system are designed to operate as a cohesive, integrated system making it easier for the home automation system integrator to set up. 

The system allows you, among other functions, to control the temperature of individual zones as well as program Fresh Air control.

And with sensors in each zone, the system ensures that no room is being over-heated or over-cooled, thus contributed to the product’s energy efficiency.

The Fresh Air system is an electronically controlled device that measures the temperature outside of the house. If this is cooler than that inside the house (which Advantage says is 25 percent of the time) it opens and brings cool air in. This smart function means not only do you get fresh air circulating around your house (as opposed to the same air re-circulating) but it is also energy efficient. According to the CSIRO, the GEN III is capable of energy savings of up to 38 percent or approximately $1000 a year.




Weird Bird Saturday – The Buffalo Gnats are gone and the Japanese Beetles are here

So I don’t really have an excuse for not doing the bird on Friday but sadly my partner Susan Kay has lost her way. She no longer posts so I may have to consider letting the Bird fly away. Sigh.


I thought I would show the “trick” to the Hummingbird Lady as a sign off.

Now That Your House Is All Warm And Insulated – Whatever shall I put in it?

The big energy hogs in the house are the HVAC, The refrigerator and the water heater.

HVAC in the residentail market simply means a combine furnace and airconditioner that share the same ventilation system. but we will treat them as seperate units for easier detail:


Of course it would use natural gas,

 Condensing furnaces contain a second heat exchanger that condenses water vapor in the hot flue gasses, extracting additional heat. The gases are then vented directly outside through a pipe in the wall. Condensing furnaces are the most efficient on the market but they are also the most expensive. Almost all ENERGY STAR qualified furnaces are condensing models.

Efficiency Rating
Furnace efficiency is rated by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). The AFUE measures the amount of fuel converted to space heat in proportion to the amount of fuel entering the furnace. The federal minimum efficiency standard for furnaces specifies an AFUE rating of at least 78%. ENERGY STAR qualified furnaces must have a minimum AFUE rating of 90%. The most modern and efficient heating systems can achieve an AFUE of as high as 97%.

For a list of the most efficient furnaces in all output categories, visit the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)’s guide to top-rated furnaces.

Efficiency Improvements
Some improvements that have been made to the components of furnaces in recent years are two-stage burners and higher-efficiency blower motors.

    Two-Stage Burners — When the heating demand is low, two-stage burners allow you to run your furnace at a lower burn rate most of the time, using less gas than a single stage burner. These use a special gas valve that fires the burners at either the low-heat or high-heat level. When heating needs increase, the burner fires at the high-heat level, increasing the burn rate. These burners save energy by using a smaller amount of gas when demand is low, thereby providing more even heating throughout the day.
    Fan Blower Motor — Depending on the size of the furnace, fan blower motors can use between 84 kWh/year for the smallest gas furnaces (25,000 Btu) to almost 550 kWh/year for the largest models (118,000 Btu). Some newer furnaces have an electronically commutated (ECM) fan blower motor that is more efficient than a standard blower motor. Variable-speed blower motors also have been in use in newer models. By using only the power needed for the immediate heating demand, these motors use 75% less electricity than standard motors. They also adjust to changes in air pressure among rooms, heating the space more efficiently.


Gas Furnaces

The smooth comfort of gas heat with the most advanced technology

For the optimal combination of gas heating and impressive energy efficiency, choose Carrier precision-engineered gas furnaces, from the innovative Infinity™ ICS with precision temperature control to the solid Comfort™ 80. The higher the AFUE rating, the more energy efficient—meaning you’ll save more money.

Infinity ICS Gas Furnace

Up to 3.5 times tighter temperature control

          Quietest furnace you can buy

  • IdealComfort™ technology
  • Lifetime heat exchanger limited warranty

96.6% AFUE

  • Variable speed blower
  • IdealHumidity
  • Lifetime heat exchanger warranty

Infinity 80 Gas Furnace

80% AFUE

  • Variable speed blower
  • IdealHumidity
  • 20-year heat exchanger warranty

Performance 93 Gas Furnace

93% AFUE

  • 4-5 speed blower
  • Enhanced humidity control
  • Lifetime heat exchanger warranty


Evolution System Plus 95s™ Furnace

  • Up to 95 AFUE
  • PerfectSense™ functionality
  • Up to 73% more consistent temperatures than single stage furnaces
  • Quietest furnace that you can buy
  • Perfect Humidity
  • Perfect Heat technology
  • Pilot-free PerfectLight ignition
  • Lifetime heat exchanger warranty

Evolution System Plus 90i™ & Plus 95i™ Furnaces

  • Up to 96.6 AFUE
  • Perfect Humidity
  • Perfect Heat technology
  • Pilot-free PerfectLight ignition
  • Lifetime heat exchanger warranty

Evolution System Plus 80v™ Furnace

  • Up to 80 AFUE
  • Perfect Humidity
  • Perfect Heat technology
  • Pilot-free PerfectLight ignition
  • 20-year heat exchanger warranty





Efficiency (AFUE)


But then there is the new kid on the block: 


Emerging Technology

The MicroHeater, developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, could redefine the way in which homes are heated. The size of a palm, the MicroHeater is capable of combusting 4,000 to 120,000 Btu of gas per hour. They can be installed in baseboard heaters, and an array of them can efficiently heat an entire house. The MicroHeater can reduce energy loss from a typical central heating system by 45%.



We have even talked about air conditions yet or geothermal heat pumps…geez



Why Insulate Your Basement? Yesterday I committed the ultimate conservation sin

So many of us preach to the choir that we forget some people don’t know how to sing. Most people’s cognitive map of a house puts the basement in a “safe” area. Safe from storms and thus the outside world. But basements leak energy for the same reason the rest of the house does, because it’s confronted with an ever changing temperature. Admittedly at about 10 ft. below the ground the temerature starts to stabilize so that geothermal heat pumps start to work but you really need to go deeper to take advantage of a constant 50 degrees farenheit. So you insulate your basement for the same reason you insulate the rest of the house – to save energy and to save money.

When Is A Concrete Block Like A Glass Window? When it comes to lousey R-Values

Believe it or not typical Concrete Products and single pane glass have the same R-Value – 1. That is because they readily give up heat because of their porus nature and in part because they are good conductors. There is a reason why castles were cold and dreary. An there is a reason why your basement is cool in the summer.


R-Value Table

Insulation Values For Selected Materials

 Construction Materials

Concrete Block 4″   0.80
Concrete Block 8″   1.11
Concrete Block 12″   1.28
Brick 4″ common   0.80
Brick 4″ face   0.44
Poured Concrete 0.08  

I should mention that the poured concrete number is by the inch. It takes no math wiz to see that 20 inches of typical concrete still is an R-value of slightly less than 1.

But you ask, “Mr. CES Man why is that important?” It is important in the Residential Market because a lot of us have basements made out of concrete, masonary block or a combination of the two.

According to the government:

U.S. Department of Energy – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

A Consumer’s Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Basement Insulation

A properly insulated basement can help reduce your energy costs. However, basement walls are one of the most controversial areas of a house to insulate and seal. You need to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages, not to mention moisture control.

Before insulating or deciding whether to add insulation to your basement, first see our information about adding insulation to an existing house or selecting insulation for new home construction if you haven’t already.

U.S. Cities R-10* R-2-**
Buffalo, NY $350 $390
Minneapolis, MN $400 $450
St. Louis, MO $250 $290

*Such as 2 to 3 inches of exterior foam insulation.
**Such as with most insulated concrete forms.

Annual Energy Savings

The energy cost savings of basement wall insulation vary depending on the local climate, type of heating system, fuel cost, and occupant lifestyle. Typical annual cost savings by R-value in a few U.S. cities are provided in the table above for a 1,500 square-foot home with a conditioned basement heated by natural gas ($0.72/therm).

Advantages and Disadvantages

In most cases, a basement with insulation installed in the exterior basement walls should be considered a conditioned space. Even in a house with an unconditioned basement, the basement is more connected to other living spaces than to the outside. This connection makes basement wall insulation preferable to insulating the basement ceiling.

Compared to insulating the basement ceiling, insulating basement walls has the following advantages:

  • Requires less insulation (1,350 square feet of wall insulation for a 36 x 48-foot basement with 8-foot walls, compared with 1,725 ceiling)
  • More easily achieves continuous thermal and air leakage boundaries because basement ceilings typically include electrical wiring, plumbing, and ductwork.
  • Requires little, if any, increase in the size of the heating and cooling equipment. The heat loss and air leakage through the basement ceiling is similar to that through the exterior walls of the basement.

These are some other advantages of insulation on exterior basement walls:

  • Minimizes thermal bridging and reducing heat loss through the foundation
  • Protects the damp-proof coating from damage during backfilling
  • Serves as a capillary break to moisture intrusion
  • Protects the foundation from the effects of the freeze-thaw cycle in extreme climates
  • Reduces the potential for condensation on surfaces in the basement
  • Conserves room area, relative to installing insulation on the interior.


Leave it to the Bush administration to say that insulation is controversial. If you are building a new home there is not a doubt that you should insulate the exterior basement walls. In fact if you are building a pad style house, you should insulate underneath the pad with some kind of insulative mixed cement. I am not sure the whole pad needs to be of that type concrete. It is expensive but if you can afford it can’t hurt.


Mr. Builder Man makes the point that the only place to insulate in the basement is on the walls. He adds:

 Because your basement walls are conducting cold into your basement via the cold ground outside, it might be worthwhile to add insulation over your exposed masonry foundation. You can choose to use closed-cell foam or fiberglass if you choose. But be sure you check with your local building department as some insulations that are flammable – such as closed cell foam – must be covered with drywall or other approved material to prevent rapid fire/flame spread.


He finishes on a note that warms the heart of a die hard conservationist:

I would also inspect the juncture between the wood framing and the top of the concrete foundation. Do this on a windy day and try to feel for air leaks. Air infiltration can be a major drain on your heating budget. Pack insulation in any cracks you discover or caulk them to stop air flow.

All these people agree:








I prefer a radical approach hire a Backhoe and dig out the dirt around your basement. Then you can apply ridgid waterproof R Board to the outside of the basement. Then you can backfill with gravel for drainage and tap down some dirt. Your house will thank you for ever. For those people that have a house already resting on a pad, you have one heck of a problem on your hands. 


For Those Of You Who Can’t Give Up Their Windows – Energy efficient windows are a must

The problem with this topic is everyone is in the window business or the window advice business. It’s like ceiling fans, the makers are everywhere, they make tons of products, and their are millions of opinions about them. So I will try to be simple and to the point. Anyway you cut it single pain (oh sorry) double hung windows should be a thing of the past


Window Technologies: Low-E Coatings

Low-emittance (Low-E) coating are microscopically thin, virtually invisible, metal or metallic oxide layers deposited on a window or skylight glazing surface primarily to reduce the U-factor by suppressing radiative heat flow. The principal mechanism of heat transfer in multilayer glazing is thermal radiation from a warm pane of glass to a cooler pane. Coating a glass surface with a low-emittance material and facing that coating into the gap between the glass layers blocks a significant amount of this radiant heat transfer, thus lowering the total heat flow through the window. Low-E coatings are transparent to visible light. Different types of Low-E coatings have been designed to allow for high solar gain, moderate solar gain, or low solar gain.

 Double-Glazed with High-Solar-Gain Low-E Glass

 This figure illustrates the characteristics of a typical double-glazed window with a high-transmission, Low-E glass and argon gas fill. These Low-E glass products are often referred to as pyrolitic or hard coat Low-E glass, due to the glass coating process. The properties presented here are typical of a Low-E glass product designed to reduce heat loss but admit solar gain. High solar gain Low-E glass products are best suited for buildings located in heating-dominated climates. This Low-E glass type is also the product of choice for passive solar design projects due to the performance attributes relative to other Low-E glass products which have been developed to reduce solar gain.

In heating-dominated climates with a modest amount of cooling or climates where both heating and cooling are required, Low-E coatings with high, moderate or low solar gains may result in similar annual energy costs depending on the house design and operation. While the high solar gain glazing performs better in winter, the low solar gain performs better in summer. Low solar gain Low-E glazings are ideal for buildings located in cooling-dominated climates. Look at the energy use comparisons under Window Selection to see how different glazings perform in particular locations. (these products can come with Krypton gas but are more expensive)

Double-Glazed with Moderate-Solar-Gain Low-E Glass

 This figure illustrates the characteristics of a typical double-glazed window with a moderate solar gain Low-E glass and argon gas fill. These Low-E glass products are often referred to as sputtered (or soft-coat products) due to the glass coating process. (Note: Low solar gain Low-E products are also called sputtered coatings.) Such coatings reduce heat loss and let in a reasonable amount of solar gain and are suitable for climates with both heating and cooling concerns. In heating-dominated climates with a modest amount of cooling or climates where both heating and cooling are required, Low-E coatings with high, moderate or low solar gains may result in similar annual energy costs depending on the house design and operation. Look at the energy use comparisons under Window Selection to see how different glazings perform in particular locations. glazing_pyrolitic.jpg

Double-Glazed with Low-Solar-Gain Low-E Glass
(Spectrally Selective)

This figure illustrates the characteristics of a typical double-glazed window with a low solar gain Low-E glass and argon gas fill. These Low-E products are often referred to as sputtered (or soft-coat) due to the glass coating process. (Note: Moderate solar gain Low-E products are also called sputtered coatings.) This type of Low-E product, sometimes called spectrally selective Low-E glass, reduces heat loss in winter but also reduces heat gain in summer. Compared to most tinted and reflective glazings, this Low-E glass provides a higher level of visible light transmission for a given amount of solar heat reduction.

Low solar gain Low-E glazings are ideal for buildings located in cooling-dominated climates. In heating-dominated climates with a modest amount of cooling or climates where both heating and cooling are required, Low-E coatings with high, moderate or low solar gains may result in similar annual energy costs depending on the house design. While the high solar gain glazing performs better in winter, the low solar gain performs better in summer. Look at the energy use comparisons under Window Selection to see how different glazings perform in particular locations.

Variants on low solar gain Low-E coatings have also been developed which lower solar gains even further. However this further decrease in solar gains is achieved by reducing the visible transmittance as well – such coatings, which may appear slightly tinted, are best suited for applications where cooling is the dominant factor and where a slightly tinted effect is desired.


Here are all the people and places that care:













Superinsulation Can Mean Many Things – But it is all good

The term was started in the “new build” industry but it has since migrated to the built environment as well. The general concept is that there is no such thing as TOO MUCH insulation in the residential market. It can provide living space that “sips” energy.


The term “superinsulation” was coined by Wayne Schick at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1976 he was part of a team that developed a design called the “Lo-Cal” house, using computer simulations based on the climate of Madison, Wisconsin. The house was never built, but some of its design features influenced later builders.


If I am not mistaken he was getting his concepts from those used in much colder climates, like Sweden and Denmark where they value their resources…actually where they value life and family in general.


The house that came in from the cold:

Houses designed with energy efficiency in

mind are more pleasant to live in, less

harmful to the environment-and need not be expensive to build.

09 March 1991

Buildings use about half the energy industrialized countries consume. Much of it could be saved, conserving resources and reducing our contribution to global warming. Energy efficient housing has already been tried and tested in several countries, with some success.

Between 1975 and 1977, building researchers and designers in North America and Scandinavia pioneered a radically new approach to reducing heat loss from buildings, now called ‘superinsulation’. Conventional buildings lose most of their heat by simple air leakage. Superinsulated buildings are firmly sealed against draughts, with a controllable ventilation system to provide fresh air in winter. In Sweden, all new houses must by law have fewer than three air changes per hour, tested at a pressure difference between inside and outside of 50 pascals. In superinsulated houses this figure is often brought below 1 air change per hour, while in a typical British house there are 10 air changes per hour under the same conditions (see Table 1).

By the late 1980s, there were more than 100 000 superinsulated dwellings in North America and Scandinavia, where most houses are built of timber. But the problems of adapting these techniques to houses built of brick and concrete prevented superinsulation being applied on any large scale in Europe until the early 1980s. Most of Britain’s houses-new and old-are put together with little regard to energy efficiency . In the rest of Europe, however, the technique is beginning to take root.

The Netherlands now has more than 1000 superinsulated houses.


The important thing to remember here is that these are not just superinsulated living spaces, they are TIGHT spaces as well. Just throwing insulation at the problem is a good thing but tight construction techniques are important too. Little things like caulking in existing homes can accomplish much the same thing. Another thing to pull out of the construction “speak” above. It takes 3 turnovers in the atmosphere in a living space to keep humans alive. Also in tight spaces smells and moisture can build up so adequate ventalation is critical as is a carbon monoxide/dioxide detector.

Also note that most of these houses contain backup, many times “unconventional” heating sources. Though the idea was that all of the cooking, human waste heat, water heating etc. would handle heating in the winter.  And that ventaltion could handle the cooling in the summer. Most buyers wanted backup heating and cooling as a psychological reassurance. Often times a geothermal heat pump served as a device that could supply both heating and cooling.

Then there is also the Passive House movement:


Passive solar buildings aim to maintain interior thermal comfort throughout the sun’s daily and annual cycles whilst reducing the requirement for active heating and cooling systems. Passive solar building design is one part of green building design, and does not include active systems such as mechanical ventilation or photovoltaics, nor does it include life cycle analysis.


Passive Building

From the energy-saving point of view, passive buildings are most advanced, and when considering the involved technology they can be constructed almost anywhere



Basic Ideas in

Passive Solar Buildings

Natural Forces At Work For You
In any climate, a building can make use of free heat from the sun. An elementary passive solar heating concept is letting in the sunshine with windows, then keeping the resulting heat inside with insulation and thermal mass. The goal in passive solar building is the optimal balance of mass, glass, and insulation for a particular site and house design. A well-designed solar home in Oregon’s Williamette Valley can get up to 30 percent of its winter heating needs met at no cost.

Passive Cooling

Passive cooling requires correct placement of windows, proper shading of windows by trees or constructed shade, light-colored roofs and walls to reflect heat, nighttime ventilation, and thermal mass to prevent overheating in hot, sunny weather. Large west-facing glass areas usually present a risk of unwanted summer afternoon heat gains. Air-conditioning is unnecessary in the maritime Northwest, if the house is properly designed.

Choose The Right Building Site

The more southern exposure, the better the site for passive solar. A steep north-facing slope, or large trees or other buildings in the wrong places will cut back on your solar window. Protective berms, natural slopes, and thick tree cover to the north side block cold winter winds and help create a warmer microclimate around your house. See the Energy Outlet handout on landscaping and house siting.

Let The House Face The Sun

It is very important to orient the long axis of the house east-west, so that as much wall and roof length faces directly south as possible. The most livable homes group the kitchen and dining room to the east, for morning light. Clerestory windows and dormers can bring winter light into otherwise dark areas of the house (minimize skylight use). Use a solar path chart to design a building so that low winter sun shines in and high summer sun is blocked by effective use of windows, overhangs and shade.

South-Facing, High Quality Windows

Passive solar houses have large window areas on the south side where the sun comes from, and minimal windows on the north side. Some sites will suggest minimal west-facing windows (SHGC<.40) as well. Window specifications should be tuned for the window location; use softcoat LowE (lower SHGC) on north, west, and possibly east-facing glazing, and hardcoat LowE, or maybe uncoated windows (.55 or higher SHGC) on south-facing glazing. You should be able to get windows with U-values below 0.32 without much difficulty by using warm-edge glazing spacers, LowE coatings, and inert gas fills.

Superinsulate, Build Tight, Ventilate Right

High R values and minimal air leakage are the most important factors in building any low-energy house. The Oregon Energy Code is a minimum, not a maximum. There is no such thing as too much insulation, only practical difficulties in implementation! Blower door test to verify house tightness. Invest in a high performance ventilation system; an air to air heat exchanger recovers the heat in exhausted ventilation air.


This however can lead you into exotic discussions of equipment and materials which cause people to go to sleep. As the forward on one passive building book put it, “If you have never read about superinsulation before this could be a tough read”. These discussions do not include rammed earth homes:


or houses made of bales of hay or straw,

which would baffle most people. Bottom line is that if you can get R value 60 in your unused attic or a radiant barrier and R 30 if it is being used for storage. You will save BUNCHES of money quickly. I would add the small point that adequate ventilation of the attic space during the summer is important too. Also if you stuff R 15 in your walls anyway you can you will exceed probably 50% of the housing stock in the USA.

Windows Are For Losers – If you want to see the outdoors go outside

OKOKOK so that may seem a little extreme. Rammed Earth houses commonly have glass faces facing south. The owners still have to curtain them for half of the year. Light tunnels are a way to bring sunlight into the house and direct it to any task, with much less resulting heat gain.


Skylights and Light Tunnel Links

The Skylight Guy

The Skylight Guy distributes Natural Light Energy System’s tubular skylights and solar powered attic fans.  These skylights are built to last and perform flawlessly… truly the “Contractor’s choice”!


HotAttic.com offers a variety of electric and solar-powered ventilators to help reduce dangerous attic heat build-up.  They are also a certified dealer of Solatube tubular skylights!

Solatube International

Solatube International manufactures “tubular” skylights, allowing you to introduce natural light into darker areas of your home without using any electricity!  

Sun Tunnel Skylights

The Sun Tunnel is a skylight that allows light to enter a room through a lens on the roof. The light travels down a shaft to a ceiling-mounted glass plate. Lots of light and no loss of heat. Check it out!




SUN TUNNELS: Rigid and Flexible
SUN TUNNEL Skylights
Easiest and Most Affordable Way to
Utilize the Beauty of Natural Light

The unique Flexi-tube design allows installation for those hard to get at places.

The SUN TUNNEL™ Flexi-tube skylight system is becoming the industry leader in natural lighting. Affordable, efficient, and easy to install, the SUN TUNNEL™ is perfect for lighting your hallway, bathrooms, kitchen or anywhere that needs more natural light.
The SUN TUNNEL™ is available in 14″ or 21″ with the patented flexible tubing which allows the unit to go around virtually any attic obstructions unlike other lighting systems. 

 Rigid models  available in a 10″ or 14″ and a rigid SUN TUNNEL™ is nearly as bright as a 21” flexible tunnel.  The rigid tubing gives the greatest light brightness and dispersion.


Look if you really really need to see out side put in 4 portholes (N,S,E, and W) and open them up once in awhile. 




Social and Environmental Justice Graduation Pledge – A brief break from our residential meditation

My favorite cousin, Matt Nicodemus, has been involved in the pledge process for years and years to I told him I would post this here and CES’ Bulletin Board. All of you should take it.


Latest development (6/13): At Fujen University, where one instructor has been handing out the Graduation Pledge in his ethics classes since 2006, Dean of Student Affairs Yang Bai-Chuan (??????) has just this week decided to offer all Fujen graduates the opportunity to take the voluntary oath at the school’s commencement this Saturday, June 14.  See contact list at bottom for contact information for Dr. Yang and his secretary, Ms. Chi.  This event will be the last chance this year to get photos, videos, and live interviews with graduates, faculty, administrators,and graduation guests.


                                                               Graduation Pledge Alliance–Asia Regional Center (GPA-Asia)

                                                                P.O. Box 10123, Taipei, Taiwan 10099

                                                               Contacts: Matt Nicodemus, Executive Director (English language)

                                                                                (e-mail) mattnico8@yahoo.com, (cell) +886-972-170-392

                                                                                Sonia Zhan, Project Assistant (Chinese language)

                                                                                (e-mail) soniazhan1126@gmail.com, (cell) 886-919-978-979

                                                                                Steve Masters, Pledge Coordinator, GPA                                                                               

                                                                               (e-mail) smasters@bentley.edu, (tel) 1-413-478-7628                                                                                                                                                                 Prof. Neil Wollman, Ph.D, Senior Fellow, BentleyAlliance for Ethics and Social Responsibility,                                                                                 Bentley College, Waltham, MA 

                                                                                (e-mail) nwollman@bentley.edu, (tel) 1-260-568-0116

                                                                                (website) www.graduationpledge.org

June 23, 2008, Taipei) Six years ago saw the introduction of the Graduation Pledge of Social & Environmental Responsibility to Asia, at the Singapore campus of INSEAD business school.  Now, with pledges offered at five universities in Taiwan and two colleges in India, the graduation pledge programs are not only spreading through the region but are also growing in sophistication and impact.

Students taking the voluntary oath promise to explore the social and environmental consequences of jobs they consider, and to try and improve the social-environmental performance of organizations for which they work.

According to Matt Nicodemus, executive director of the Graduation Pledge Alliance-Asia Regional Center (GPA-Asia) in Taipei, 2008 marks several firsts for the Pledge in Taiwan.  At Soochow University (SCU), where the career center has taken over coordination of the school’s pledge program, students recently participated in more than a week of activities designed to increase awareness of ethics and responsibility in career choices and on-the-job decisions.  The GPA chapter at Chinese Culture University (CCU) last month joined the school’s administration to co-sponsor the first-ever Earth Week on campus.  At National Taiwan University (NTU), the Student Graduation Association is creating new forms of pledge-taking ritual, and getting faculty involved.  And at National Taipei University of Education (NTUE), future teachers are being encouraged to spend the week before commencement reflecting on how they could educate their own students to help make the world better.

“Taking the Pledge is so much more than just signing a piece of paper,” said Nicodemus, who helped start the first pledge program 21 years ago at Humboldt State University in Northern California, “and organizing a pledge program is so much more than just offering pledges to graduating students.”

Nicodemus noted that the most effective pledge efforts have three components: 1) educating the campus community about the Pledge and social-environmental responsibility issues that students will face in their work lives; 2) making the pledge available for graduates to take; and 3) following up with pledge-signers to provide the information and support they need to live out their pledge commitments.  “Now, more and more, we’re seeing these different components in the pledge programs here in Asia.”

Charged by Soochow University’s office of student affairs with responsibility for managing the school’s pledge program, Career Center director Beauty Yu and her staff have put together a multi-faceted, highly engaging and informative series of activities to introduce students to the Pledge and issues of ethics and responsibility in employment-related choices.  Beginning in mid-May, “Ethics at Work: Responsibility for your Work, Satisfying Cooperation with Colleagues, and New on the Job” ran for more than a week and included lectures, workshops, and trainings.  “We hope students will be responsible to themselves and find the proper job which fits with their own values, then try their best to make the society better,” said Yu

While the Pledge has been available to Soochow grads since 2005, this year’s distribution will reach a far greater number of students, and offer them much more than a single pledge card.  A pre-commencement public education program is being carried out on both the main Shihlin and downtown Taipei campuses, featuring beautifully designed informative banners, posters, and wall displays.  At graduation ceremonies on June 7th, students will receive special decorative bags containing pledge cards, special “ribbon stickers” that can be worn on their gowns to show commitment to the Pledge, and information to help pledge-takers successfully live out their commitments to social-environmental responsibility.  Faculty members and university administrators attending the events will also be able to wear ribbon stickers, to demonstrate their support for students considering and making the pledge promise.         Angel Hsu, an instructor in the English department who coordinated Soochow’s pledge program last year, has brought the Pledge into her classrooms, having students write essays about how they could be socially and environmentally responsible in their jobs.  “For me,” she explained, “it was one of the most meaningful assignments I’ve given, especially because I wrote an essay myself to show the students that all of us have to consider these important questions.”   Business management senior Gina Chou volunteered for “Ethics at Work” and plans to sign the pledge at Soochow’s June 7th graduation.  She emphasized, “For me, the Pledge is not only a promise to myself but to the whole world,” and noted that by signing and following through on the Pledge, she might be able to positively affect many people around her.Ilan County high school English teacher Huei-Wen Tsai, a graduate of CCU who signed the Pledge when it was first offered in 2004, admitted she didn’t really understand the commitment until she started to teach English in an Ilan high school.  “I think it has been very lucky for me to be a public school teacher,” said Tsai, “because the call of a teacher, in essence, corresponds very well to the cause of GPA.”  She fulfills her promise by often incorporating themes of environmental and social issues into her regular classroom instruction.The Graduation Pledge is spreading steadily in Taiwan, gaining new schools each year, and has also taken root in India, where several educational institutions have either begun offering the Pledge to their graduates or are considering doing so.  Frequently, the programs of the pledge schools have been started by a single faculty member who decided to offer pledges to their own students.  Success of the Pledge in their classroom then led to bigger and better things.  At Fujen University (FJU) in Taipei, Father Daniel Bauer, a longtime instructor and regular newspaper columnist, has taught about the Pledge and distributed it to students in his ethics courses since 2006.  Recently, he wrote that he’s “lending a hand in back of the scenes” with the goal of FJU beginning to include the Pledge in its official commencement ceremony.Meanwhile, GPA-Asia is working hard to compile and create practical resources that pledge-signers can use in making important choices of jobs and on-the-job choices, and also developing materials and processes for training students, teachers, and career counselors.  Group leaders are also meeting with a variety of governmental agencies and private organizations with which it shares goals, seeking support and cooperation.  “We’re quite excited about the interest that’s been shown in the Pledge and our work for social-environmental responsibility,” commented Matt Nicodemus, adding that contacts with Taiwan’s ministries of education and foreign affairs have been particularly promising.               

 Most active pledge schools in Asia:

Chinese Culture University (CCU, ??????), Taipei

Graduation and pledge activity date: June 7 

Website: www2.pccu.edu.tw/pledge

Coordinator & faculty contact: Terry Wu (????), Director, Language Center, Instructor, English Department and Coordinator, GPA-CCU


(office) 02-2861-0511 x24401

(cell) 0928-528-464

Fujen University (FJU, ???????), Taipei

Graduation date: June 14 

Pledge program coordinator: Dean of Student Affairs: Dr. Yang Bai-Chuan (??????)


(office) 2905-2229

Secretary: Ms. Chi


(office) 2905-2229

Faculty contact: Father Daniel J. Bauer (??? ??), SVD, Associate Professor, English Department and Chairman, English Department, School of Continuing Education 


(office) 02-2905-2565

National Taipei University of Education (NTUE, ????????), Taipei

Graduation & pledge activity date: June 7

Administration contact: Prof. Chen Chin-Fen (???), Dean of Academic Affairs


(office) 02-2732-1104  x2008, 2170

(cell) 0939-565-157
National Taiwan University (NTU,), Taipei

“Shout for Declaration” pledge activity date: June 6 (12:00 pm) Graduation date: June 7“Shout for Declaration” web page: www.bonvoyage.club.tw/10/shout_for_declaration.htm Student Graduation Association president: Cindy Hsu (???)


(cell) 0928-973-901

SGA pledge program organizers:

Sophia Kuo (???)


(cell) 0955-293-575

Damien Chang (???)


(cell) 0921-823-321 

Soochow University (SCU, ????), Taipei

Graduation & pledge activity date: June 7 

Website: www.scu.edu.tw/career/

Career Center pledge program coordinators:

Beauty Yu (???), Director, Shihlin campus center


(office) 02-2881-9471 x7571

Faculty contact: Angel Hsu (???), Instructor, Dept. of English


(cell) 0939-720-779