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Heating Is the Next Clean Energy Frontier

California's ability to lower energy use and cut carbon emissions depends on a transition to high-efficiency heat pumps, according to a new report commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council. (Photo: Jeff Cleary / CC / Flickr) Clean space and water heating technologies such as heat pumps and solar thermal have the potential to save Californians more than $1,500 upon installation and hundreds of dollars on annual utility bills afterward. In particular, super-high-efficiency heat pump technology is key for the state to meet its clean energy and clean air goals, according to the first in-depth analysis of the economics and…

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Federal Agencies Begin Efficiency Policy Rollbacks

More than 600 days into the Trump administration, amid constant reports of regulatory rollbacks, there’s been surprisingly little damage to energy efficiency… yet. But now the administrative winds are starting to blow, rulemaking procedures are underway — with a couple of open comment periods — and we are working hard to hold onto the energy savings we have been helping to build. The Obama administration had some remarkable successes on energy efficiency. We estimated that its appliance, vehicle, and power plant standards alone should save over 10 quadrillion Btu per year by 2030 (equivalent to about half of U.S. home…

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School Water Often Goes Untested for Lead

Only 15 states and the District of Columbia require or encourage that drinking water in public schools be tested for lead, according to a new report from the U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools. (Photo: Paul Domenick / CC BY-ND-NC / Flickr) Schools in 35 states are not required to test their drinking water for lead,  research by The Center for Green Schools has found. In the remaining 15 states and the District of Columbia, testing may be encouraged rather than required, and not all states require that parents be notified of the results, U.S. Green Building Council…

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More Wingnut Testing of Basement Waterproofing

In the first round of Wingut testing of negative side waterproofing, I was pretty focused on how various interior basement waterproofing systems dealt with hydrostatic pressure. But in recent workshops I conducted for a Wisconsin nonprofit called SeventhWave, I have gotten this question just about every time: “OK, so you need the crystalline waterproofing systems to deal with water under pressure. But what about basement walls and floors that see water that is not under pressure?” That question got me thinking: could I use the same waterproofed concrete block columns and wet them in such a way that water would…

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JM’s New R-12 Duct Insulation Portfolio

In 2015, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) made a new change regarding the thermal resistance requirements for duct insulations in unconditioned spaces. Specifically, the code called for ducts in unconditioned spaces in climate zones 5-8 to be insulated with R-12 insulation.1 (Please see the complete code for all details and any exceptions.) In terms of insulation, designers can expect that the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power of the insulation. Climate zones 5-8 are in the middle to northern part of the country, and they often experience much colder weather patterns than zones 1-4. As a result,…

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Rooftop External Duct Installation Instructions

Johns Manville’s XSPECT® ISOfoam APF board consists of a uniform closed-cell polyisocyanurate foam core bonded on each side with a foil facer. Polyiso provides one of the highest R-values per inch of any rigid insulation (R-6.0 at 1 inch). R means resistant to heat flow. JM XSPECT ISOfoam APF is produced with an EPA-compliant hydrocarbon-based blowing agent that has zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) and virtually no Global Warming Potential (GWP); it also meets both CFC- and HCFC-free specification requirements. Polyiso is one of North America’s most widely used insulation products and has been cited by the EPA for its…

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