Ban The Can: Why You Should Avoid Recessed Lights

by Erik North on July 29, 2013

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    That image above is of a recessed light in a house built in 1994. The blower door was 5750 CFM50, which unless one were testing the Astrodome, is quite high. The outside temperature was around 10F and you can see that inside the can is 27F. Bad bad bad. I ran into a […]


Why I Hate, Hate, Hate Skylights

by Erik North on May 27, 2013

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  Title reference in memory of Roger Ebert and his book, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie. Why the skylight hate? Because I’ve rarely seen one that isn’t either causing a problem or in the process of causing one. They fall squarely into a group with recessed lights and cathedral ceilings: Homeowners love them and […]


Journal of Poor Homebuilding v.6

by Erik North on June 15, 2012

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    *Sigh* Recessed lights…so sleek and discreet. So modern and sometimes, so lousy. This is one of a string of recessed lights in a ranch house. They were all of the same flavor: Insulation contact but unsealed, letting air flow through unimpeded. This particular recessed light was about two feet from the vented soffit, […]


Post image for Replace Incandescent Bulbs to Save on Air Conditioning

  We’re in the midst of the first paradigm shift in electric lighting since … well, since forever. It’s been over 200 years since incandescent lights were first conceived and over 130 years since Joseph Swan and Edison nailed the particulars. In the intervening more than a century? Nothing much has changed in the lighting […]

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Color Temperature – Why You Need To Know

by Erik North on March 5, 2012

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  Ack, I had one more lighting article kicking around…and here it is. Color temperature is one of those topics everyone will be familiar with, but not understand. And you don’t really need to understand it, but if you’re discussing lighting and light quality, then color temperature will come up. The radiation mechanics and what […]


Knob and Tube Wiring and Insulation

by Erik North on March 2, 2012

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  Folks often call about energy audits part of the way through their thinking on a project. Sometimes the big project decisions have already been made; homeowners are just looking for final guidance. On more than a couple occasions, those plans to blow cellulose over an attic flat are brought up short by live knob […]


Organic LEDs or OLED

by Erik North on February 25, 2012

Organic LEDs or OLED

    Ha, one last lighting post…for now. I almost didn’t write this article, but organic LEDs came up in most of the lighting and LED articles as the next ‘next big deal’ in lighting. Organic LEDs or OLEDs have a breathy sci-fi air about them, like carbon nanotubes or space elevators. They’re the sort […]


CFL Recycling Kits – Ya Gotta Make Recycling Easy

by Erik North on January 31, 2012

CFL Recycling Kits - Ya Gotta Make it Easy

  One of my favorite YouTube videos is a compilation of the imaginary problems depicted in infomercials. The nightmare of flat soda or undercooked pasta that their product will purportedly solve (and here’s the video link; no embed to avoid slowing the page). By contrast, I wanted to introduce a product that solves an actual […]


LED vs Incandescent Lights - Ultimate Showdown Part Deux

  Incandescent lights have been the standard for lighting homes basically since electricity has been around (at least residential electricity.) The Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 (The White City) was entirely lit with incandescent lights, showing millions of Americans a glimpse of modern life for the first time. But that was 1893 … haven’t we […]


Cold Cathode CFLs…There Are Hot Cathodes?

by Erik North on January 27, 2012

Cold Cathode CFLs...There Are Hot Cathodes?

    Good news, only three more posts about lighting (unless I write more). Update: four more. The drawbacks of standard CFLs are pretty well known. And I promise I won’t rehash them here. Why would I when I can just link to this article. The drawbacks are compelling enough that some folks are hoarding […]