Amy’s Energy Efficiency Gift Buying Guide

Amy Musser
Between Thanksgivukkah and the unusually short three-week (shudder) shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you may just now be realizing that you have some serious work to do.  The energy efficiency industry has some great products that will fit your budget and delight the data geek in your life. Gift-giving...

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What to do when your bath fan fails

Amy Musser
Bath fans are an incredibly important part of a high-performance home.  Unfortunately they are also a frequently failed item when we perform final testing for programs like Energy Star and GreenBuilt NC.  This week’s blog focuses on how builders can be successful with bath fans. Why are bath fans are...

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Airtightness and Spray Foam Insulation

Amy Musser
Spray foam makes houses tighter, right?  Maybe.  Usually.  Having blower-door tested hundreds of homes with every insulation combination you can imagine, I’ve developed some opinions. Spray foam insulations have a reputation for making homes more airtight than fiberglass or cellulose.  If you look at a sample of the various insulation...

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Hybrid walls anyone?

Amy Musser
Sometimes I blog about things I see that bother me and sometimes I pick topics that people ask me about all the time.  Today, it’s both.  The use of hybrid foam-fiberglass insulation in walls is something that people ask me a lot.  Other people don’t ask and just do things...

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Seeing the light: myths about light bulbs

Amy Musser
One of the most surprising and frustrating aspects of working in the “energy efficiency industry” is the sheer number and prevalence of myths about light bulbs.  Buying a light bulb and putting it in a residential light fixture just is not that complicated.  (This sounds like the great lead-in for...

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Celebrating the solstice with passive solar

Amy Musser
I often say that I wish everyone could live in my house for a week.  The winter solstice seems like the perfect time to talk about why.  I’ll give you a hint:  it’s 74 degrees in my living room right now. Living in a passive solar house is remarkably more...

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Why you don’t need a humidifier

Amy Musser
Last Friday, our company performed its tightest blower door test ever:  0.28 ACH50.  That’s not a typo – this house was twice as tight as the Passive House requirement.  I’ve tested duct systems (probably also this week) that weren’t as tight as this house.  It’s great that we’re making homes...

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The Revenge of the Negawatts

Boone Guyton
              After a year and a half of watching our electric production from our Solar PV system we became much more conscious of our consumption. We had been pretty conservative before in terms of what we used from the begining. We built our Passive Solar house in 2000 to...

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It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity

Amy Musser
Who doesn't love summer? Sweet tea, flip flops, and relaxing by the pool. Just try not to spend much time in attics, and be careful that those gym shoes in the bottom of your closet don’t get moldy. People ask me a lot of questions about air conditioning and humidity...

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