Energy Efficiency

What is a McMansion?

by Erik North on February 11, 2012

What is a McMansion?

  McMansion was already a derided term years back prior to the recent collapse of the housing market. Since then, it’s become symbolic of the rampant over construction as prices ballooned. The bloated McMansion (though my favorite term is ‘Garage Mahal’) has been so conceptually discredited that the NAHR reported that the average size of […]


CFLs vs LEDs - Lighting's Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny

  If the title is confusing, google ‘ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny’ and I’ll wait *hums to himself*. OK, we’re back. Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) have been gaining popularity in the last decade despite some well documented drawbacks. They’ve become synonymous with energy efficiency and saving electricity. So much so that CFLs have experienced a […]


What is a Solar Tube (Let The Sunshine In)?

by Erik North on January 20, 2012

What is a Solar Tube (Natural Light is Better)

  While CFL light bulbs are the current belle of the lighting efficiency ball, a number of other contenders have emerged. The shortcomings of CFLs have lead many consumers to look elsewhere. LEDs, halogens and ESL bulbs are alternatives with their own benefits and shortcomings. Today we will look at solar tubes. So what are […]

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How to Pick a CFL (Take The Curly One)?

by Erik North on January 20, 2012

How to Pick a CFL

  The shortcomings of CFLs have been amply demonstrated (and I did my share of demonstrating in this article). The color of light is harsh, they’re more expensive than folks are used to, they don’t dim, they contain mercury, and incandescent bulbs are being phased out, forcing choice but limiting your options. Ultimately, LED bulbs, […]


ESL Light Bulbs (That's Electron Stimulated Luminescence)

  I had no idea what ESL light bulbs were either before I started researching CFL alternatives. And I think they ought to pass a rule where very well-known acronyms are never used for a new thing. Almost no matter how cool your new thing is, it will never escape the original acronym’s gravity. CFL […]


100 Years of Energy Predictions

    I don’t often publish single posts about articles on other sites but this one is great. Martin Holladay (author of the Musings of An Energy Nerd blog) posted his review of a century’s worth of predictions on our energy future. Naturally, some of the predictions are laughably, horribly off but there are others […]


Advanced Framing Techniques - Less Wood, Less Energy, Less Time

  For 175 years, construction of residential homes has employed ‘stick construction.’ Even if you’re not a builder, you’d recognize it on sight. 2 x 4 framing with 16-inch on center studs, double top plates, and triple stud corners. Every contractor in the game has built this way since forever. Imagine a blue collar movie […]


Problems With Recessed Lighting (And Then Some)

by Erik North on October 31, 2011

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  What are the problems with recessed lighting? While they are an elegant alternative to a chunk of metal fastened to your home’s ceiling, cutting a hole into your drywall and sticking a hot light into it HAS to cause some issues, right? The Architect And The Auditor One of my closest friends is an […]


How To Save Money (On Your Home Heating Bill)?

by Erik North on October 28, 2011

Post image for How To Save Money (On Your Home Heating Bill)?

    I know … ‘How to save money’…how broad a question is that? When having conversations with customers, it’s always more fruitful when our focus is more wide ranging. When discussing how to save money in your home, why discuss just the heating system or insulation? To best understand how to save money, you […]


Can Ceiling Fans Save Money?

by Erik North on October 23, 2011

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  Ceiling fans are incredibly popular and add an elegant look to most rooms. The popularity of great rooms and cathedral ceilings coupled with myriad design choices make ceiling fans a great option to fill what may otherwise be a dreary ceiling space. But can ceiling fans save money? Beyond the aesthetics, properly run ceiling […]