Separation Anxiety

On May 23, 2012, in Blog, by Heather Rae

When Home Performance with Energy Star launched in Maine in 2006, we defined the energy improvement process as test-in, upgrade, test-out. The parenthetical testing was part and parcel of the process, similar to a physician talking with a patient and running diagnostics to glean what’s going on – before prescribing remedies or lifting a scalpel. […]

Conducting Home Performance

On May 9, 2012, in Blog, by Heather Rae

“Home Performance” used to sound like something musically-inclined parents forced their children to do in living rooms. It’s catching on, slowly, for what it really is, and that is tightening up houses – with an ear for proper ventilation, humidity controls and other riffs on indoor air quality, and fuel-efficient climate controls. (There are geographic […]

Great Day

On April 11, 2012, in Blog, by Heather Rae

One upside to the economic downturn is the influx of finance and technology professional entering the sustainability sector. They are ubiquitous. (“And they are everywhere, too,” as an old friend used to say.) These professionals bring to programmatic endeavors around slow food, climate change, recycling and the myriad elements of sustainability not only valuable expertise, […]

SnuggHome Surges Ahead

On March 14, 2012, in Blog, by Heather Rae

About ten years ago, my employer was a large investor-owned electric and gas utility in Denver. I was hired to manage the marketing of new energy technologies. Problem was, we didn’t have any new energy technologies. Not really. Our little team of two (plus a consultant) traveled to Minnesota to talk with Honeywell about smart […]

Paving Path to Realistic Energy Modeling

On March 7, 2012, in Blog, by Heather Rae

Once upon a time, in a land called Maine, a girl (of a certain age) couldn’t help but wonder, “if you want to reward homeowners for saving energy in their homes, doesn’t it make sense to look at actual energy usage, something that accounts for behavior, as well as structures?” Soon, there were others, too, […]

A Geek’s Dream

On February 29, 2012, in Blog, by Heather Rae

The space where energy meets IT is a geek’s dream. Four years ago, about when I took an extended hiatus from blogging for cleantechblog, the available software and hardware options that supported residential energy efficiency were slim, and the solutions, clunky. Home performance and energy rating professionals had paper data collection sheets and time-consuming modeling […]

Why I Love Solar, Even Though I’ve Never Bought It

On October 6, 2010, in Blog, by Neal Dikeman

My article last week was entitled Can I Hate the Solar Bill of Rights and Still Love Love Solar?  The comments back ran the gamut, including posters ripping me suggesting I must have oil company ties (to be fair I kind of do) and one asking did someone “pee in my cornflakes” and calling me […]

Why My GridPoint Energy Audit Sucked

On August 20, 2010, in Blog, by Neal Dikeman

Bad day for energy efficiency the other day.  I have a new house (actually a new to me 55 year old house), and was all excited to have an energy auditor come out and energy audit me.  After all, I write Cleantech Blog, and did an article not too long ago urging all homeowners to […]

Blogroll Review: Corny Carpet, Cocoa Car, and Carbon Consolidation

On May 12, 2009, in Blog, by Frank Ling

Pretty much everything you eat these days contains corn, whether in the form of corn syrup, sauces, starch, or other food additives. Pretty soon, we will also get upholstery made from this plant. Already being used for biofuels, corn is also a chemical feedstock. Joel Makower shared this story from his attendance of a gathering […]

Ontological Shock

On March 25, 2009, in Blog, by Heather Rae

by Heather Raefor The term came up over lunch. A group of home energy evaluators convened at King Eider’s pub in Damariscotta. That morning, we had completed filming of an energy evaluation with the film crew from Maine Public Broadcasting Network. We were talking about the future of the country and the economy and […]

The Appraisal

On January 14, 2009, in Blog, by Heather Rae

by Heather Rae for A homeowner who recently relocated from New Jersey to one of the swishier towns of Maine asked me last week, in the context of his search for a home energy renovator in the State, ‘why is Maine so far behind?’ That same day, a friend delicately offered, in the midst […]

Getting Content Into Sustainability Wikis

On September 23, 2008, in Blog, by Marguerite Manteau-Rao

by Marguerite Manteau-Rao (This post originally appeared on La Marguerite blog) Sustainability wikis such as Wikia Green or Appropedia have an important role to play, in the gathering of solutions for a sustainable future. The big challenge of course, is how to engage contributors into volunteering free content. As a content creator in the sustainability […]

My aura is…

On April 9, 2008, in Blog, by Heather Rae

by Heather Raefor One of three dealers of Benjamin Moore paint in my travel distance (which is getting shorter and shorter with the increase in gas prices) carries the new Aura line, as well as the EcoSpec low-voc line of paints.Farther north, along Route 1, another dealer is weighing the costs of the investment […]

Taking Control

On February 13, 2008, in Blog, by Heather Rae

by Heather Rae Maine Congressman Tom Allen hopes to dislodge Senator Susan Collins from her Senatorial seat. Allen spoke a few weeks back at an event sponsored by the Hydrogen Energy Center and other energy-oriented organizations at the Frontier Cafe in Brunswick. Allen said that without the right kind of leadership in the executive office, […]

A Head-Knocker

On June 20, 2007, in Blog, by Heather Rae

by Heather Rae for Consider a basement, a typical basement in rural Maine. Call is what it is — a cellah — a five foot high, dirt-floored head-knocker, with a boulder emerging from beneath its easternmost foundation wall. Add some radon, as radon is pervasive in these parts. Throw down some plastic sheathing; ‘affix’ […]

Ups & Downs

On May 9, 2007, in Blog, by Heather Rae

by Heather Rae, On about the eighth hour of scraping the lead paint off of the exterior of the old summer kitchen this weekend, the word, ‘torch’ comes to my mind. My mind wanders in the tedium; my moods mercurial. Take a torch to it, I think. The thought wings away; I envision a […]

Dear Sam

On May 2, 2007, in Blog, by Heather Rae

Dear Sam, We met at the narrow, cavernous bar in the Philadelphia Airport. You were heading home to Ohio from Maine, a business trip. I was heading home to Maine from Ohio, a business trip. You were in Maine to refurbish a commercial building in a long-time-ailing, once-industrial town. I was in Ohio to learn […]

ACI Conference 2007

On April 25, 2007, in Blog, by Heather Rae

by Heather Rae Cleveland hosts the 21st ACI Home Performance Conference this week. Over 1,000 people registered to exchange information about “house as a system” building design and operation. ACI President, Laura McNaughton, greets attendees, “As this conference opens, the issue of climate change and the urgent need for affordable energy present both environmental challenges […]

The Party’s Over

On April 18, 2007, in Blog, by Heather Rae

by Heather Rae This past Friday, I put down the crowbar and power-downed the computer and drove to Portland to speak about home performance at a workshop, “Global Warming, Cool Solutions.” The workshop was part of a one-day conference called “Achieving Global Energy Security.” Held in a LEED Gold-designated building, it was a provocative day […]

Green Theory, Green Practice.

On March 14, 2007, in Blog, by Heather Rae

by Heather Rae The bank and I closed on the 1880 Federal-style house two weeks ago. The renovation possibilities that earlier filled me with giddy excitement are now all around me: the old wood floors, the near floor-to-ceiling windows, the high ceilings and the old summer kitchen that juts out behind the boxy structure of […]