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Energy Solutions

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All insulation is not equal

Most discussions about residential energy efficiency include the topic of insulation. Attic, wall and floor insulation normally become major points of discussion. Builders, homeowners, architects and salesmen use R-value language for ­comparing various types and thicknesses of insulation. It has been that way for as long as I can remember. However, energy efficiency experts are […]

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Infrared Doug Rye

What’s hot and what’s not

Although the heat finally showed up in August, we were blessed we didn’t have numerous 100-degree days throughout the summer. That’s fine with me because everyone got some relief from air ­conditioning costs and our usually oppressive summer ­temperatures. However, even though the summer wasn’t that hot, let’s visit a topic that is — encap­sulating […]

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A magic energy moment

My wife and I recently purchased some large Desert Rose plants to place on our west-facing front porch. This porch gets extremely hot during summer afternoons, so these beautiful plants should enjoy their new environment. Our porch doesn’t look like the plant’s native environments of tropical Africa or Arabia. But the direct sunlight, its reflective […]

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Building or remodeling?

You have to love our weather. As I’m writing the June column, the weatherman just reported that we set not one, but two record low temperatures for May. Many of you were still running the heat pumps and furnaces well into the month of May. It appears we may have one of those years where […]

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May_Base.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Pro

A different kind of envelope

Oftentimes I refer to the term “building envelope” or “thermal envelope.” Both are interchangeable and synonymous. So, just what is a building envelope? Well, in simple terms, it is the building components that separate the building interior from the exterior environment. And since this column is about energy ­efficiency, let’s call it the ­“thermal envelope.” […]

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Life is full of choices

Does everybody care about his or her utility bill? The answer is “yes.” We all relate to our own comfort and utility bill. Well, that is understandable and the purpose of this column has always been to help you have a comfortable house and a ­reasonable electric bill. However, we sometimes confuse our electric bill […]

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