Tag Archives: Buildings

The Monster in My Basement: Tough Lessons in Building Science


Sweetums seems much less scary now that I’ve met the monster called mold.

When I was a little girl, I was convinced that a monster lived in my basement. I was afraid to go downstairs alone in the morning — this terrifyingly vivid image of the dining room floor opening up, and the Muppets ogre Sweetums climbing out.

Decades later as a first-time homeowner, I’ve learned that monsters are real. But instead of a big hairy guy, it’s zillions of microbes of mold that keep me up at night.

More from Baltimore: Taking down the barriers, accelerating the drivers to CHP

A great dialogue continues here in Baltimore on accelerating industrial energy efficiency and combined heat and power (CHP) in the region.

Not only do public policies need to provide a solid framework that allows for CHP to be broadly deployed, but champions among end users really need to drive projects and help other stakeholders understand their value propositions.

Those points were driven home particularly by John Baker, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, as well as speakers from New Jersey and New York, including Brian Platt of NYSERDA, Mike Winka, director of the Office of Clean Energy in New Jersey, and Steven Goldenberg, chief counsel to the New Jersey Large Energy Users Coalition. Continue reading

Opportunities and Successes in Industrial Energy Efficiency and CHP

CHP, Industrial Efficiency Dialogue in Baltimore Maryland To help set the table for the U.S. DOE and NEEP co-hosted dialogue on advancing industrial energy efficiency and CHP, NEEP’s Sue Coakley is moderating a discussion on ‘Opportunities and Successes.’ She started this dialogue by showing a video from NEEP’s 2012 Energy Efficiency Summit in Stamford, Conn. that highlighted Sikorsky Aircraft and the energy efficiency and CHP investments they’ve made to their Stratford plant. With support from United Illuminating, Sikorsky is aiming to make their facility zero net energy with the help of an innovative co-generation unit. And with support from the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, the payback period for Sikorsky’s measures has been dropped to under four years.

Showing that best practices are not limited to New England, Jim Freihaut, director of the Mid-Atlantic Clean Energy Application Center at Penn State University, highlighted Proctor and Gamble’s Mehoopany, PA paper products plant, which has saved so much energy with its CHP application, that the company has closed plants in other states and moved those jobs to Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Dialogue on Industrial Efficiency and CHP Kicks Off in Baltimore

Good morning from Baltimore, where the U.S. Department of Energy and NEEP have just kicked off our Regional Dialogue on Accelerating Industrial Energy Efficiency and Combined Heat and Power (CHP). This meeting is being held to advance the development and implementation of state-level best practices in both public policies and investment models that address the barriers to greater investments in industrial efficiency and CHP in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.

Jason Miller, of the National Economic Council and a Special Assistant to President Obama for Manufacturing Policy, welcomed the 160+ participants here in Baltimore by highlighting the President’s Executive Order that sets a national goal of 40 gigawatts of new, cost-effective CHP by 2020. In noting that a revitalized manufacturing sector is a core element of the administration’s economic development agenda, Miller noted the importance of accelerating efficiency and CHP in this sector because “Energy is intertwined with competitiveness. Continue reading

Time is Savings-Connecticut’s Building Code Conundrum

Last week, a damaging bill (HB 5749) for building energy efficiency was heard in Connecticut. The bill describes itself as attempting to “save resources” for the Nutmeg State and creates a “more consistent State Building Code,” when in fact it would accomplish neither! Here is NEEP’s written testimony against the bill.

HB 5749, if passed, would have Connecticut revise the State Building Code only every six years! NEEP strongly recommends that all states update their state building and energy codes at least every three years, corresponding with the International Code Council’s (ICC) update cycle. It’s the surest way to align a state building code with the latest developments in building technologies and practices, and achieve the energy and cost savings, not to mention life/safety requirements, the codes are designed for.

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Question: How many heating systems does one house need? Answer: 6

At least this is how many heating systems my parents’ house has.  From electric baseboard heat to ductless mini-splits, the house is like a museum to the history of home heating systems.

Before you go thinking my parents are some kind of crazy heating system hoarders, it helps to understand that their house has gone through several remodels and additions since it was built 40 years ago. Continue reading

Back to school in Massachusetts: Participate in a Green School Event Sept. 27 – Oct. 4

Wellesley High School. Photo: SMMA

Roll up those sleeves and join the Green Schools Committee of USGBC MA for one (or three!) Green Apple Service projects over the next two weeks. Tour a newly built high performance MA-CHPS school or join us at Boston Latin Academy for some green rejuvenation! Help our communities support healthy, sustainable schools by participating in these free events. Continue reading

Road trip to New Hampshire’s latest high performance school

NEEP and CHPS staff outside the entrance to Lebanon Middle School

NEEP’s Regional High Performance Schools Working Group hit the road this July to gather at the newly constructed Lebanon Middle School in New Hampshire for their annual in-person meeting.  Working group members got a sneak peak of the high performance school, which was designed to the Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools (NE-CHPS) protocol. The grand opening of the middle school is scheduled for August 25th. Continue reading

Vermont Colleges are creating Greener Campuses and Brighter Futures

University of Vermont is one of 12 higher education institutions in the state investing millions in energy efficiency.

How far will $16 million dollars go to create green college campuses in the Green Mountain State? A lot further than you think. Recently, twelve of Vermont’s most prominent institutions of higher education pledged more than $16 million to green revolving funds, and they are using this money to make major improvements in energy efficiency – with an impact far greater than their initial investment. Continue reading

Tackling Market Barriers – NEEP Begins Work with Efficiency Maine on Multi-Family Retrofits

The potential energy savings in the multi-family sector is tremendous. In spite of this, the sector has not been a point of focus for retrofit projects as there are multiple barriers to achieving complete success in these types of projects.

Beginning June 1, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships will assist Efficiency Maine in its efforts to develop and deploy a multi-year energy efficiency strategy to accelerate comprehensive energy retrofits in small to medium multi-family housing which are characterized broadly as 10-40 year old, 5-20 unit apartment buildings.  Continue reading