News - home performance

Quality Work Is Worth The Effort

A few rotten apples

The world is full of contractor horror stories. Over the years, contractors have lost customer trust, often for good reason. Simple mistakes like forgetting to re-install a water heater vent after a roof replacement could have drastic consequences if the exhaust fumes, and potentially carbon monoxide, were to re-enter the building.

Unfortunately, this lack of confidence from the public means that gaining a customer’s trust can be a real hurdle even for the best in the business.

But it isn’t just the bad apple contractors who are at fault. The standard bidding process these days seems almost designed to reward shoddy, dishonest work.

What You Missed At The ZNE Retreat

It’s amazing how many energy efficiency conferences and workshops have surfaced recently. Sometimes it seems like the dissemination and sharing of EE information has become a standalone industry. These events are often are often sponsored by large corporate donors and may have hundreds of attendees. Frequently they are week-long events with multiple “tracks” of information to choose from. These conferences can be great sources of information a good way to get re-energized by new people and new ideas. The problem is that for many folks, taking a week out of their schedules to travel to a distant city and stay in a hotel and attend classes is not practical.

On-The-Job Experience: Why Electrification Is Better And Cheaper

Sean Armstrong is the Managing Principal of Redwood Energy, one of the nation’s leading ZNE design firms and an Efficiency First California board member. His argument for electrification is based on his extensive experience in multifamily housing. 

The conventional wisdom is that when it comes to home heating, gas is cheap. So why is the trend toward building all-electric homes accelerating?

It turns out that building an all-electric home actually costs at least $4,500 less than a gas-powered one, according to KB Homes and City Ventures (SF Chronicle 4/20/16 by CEC and CAISO Commissioners Hochschild and Ferron). In apartments, I have documented $3,500 savings per residence by building all-electric.

TEDx HPC Conference 2018

By: Debra Little

This year, the Home Performance Coalition hosted it's first annual TEDx event at its national conference in Philadelphia. The room was packed, the BYOB was flowing and the energy was lively.

Fourteen efficiency experts told stories of their experiences in the field. Topics ranged from personal narratives about the challenges of doing this important work in difficult circumstances to inspiring and sobering talks that reminded us why what we do is so important.

While it's impossible to capture the energy and enthusiasm in the room in summary form, here's a rundown of each speaker’s presentation.

The Real Heroes Of Home Performance

In all the discussions about how to best save energy and power the future, people sometimes forget that the clean energy system of tomorrow will be built not on spreadsheets or by some fancy computer modeling tool, but by hardworking crews in the field. These folks often don’t get enough credit for what they do. But as those of us who’ve run businesses dedicated to building this future know, attracting and keeping the skilled workers who make it all possible is often the biggest challenge.

When you become a business owner you quickly learn the true cost and value of employees. Good ones are hard to find, especially in tight labor markets where there are more jobs than bodies. California is experiencing a significant labor shortage in the trades right now.