Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Utility's Responsibility?

       In the process of testing homes for various utilities and nonprofits I have experienced increased concern for combustion safety within the Energy Audit community. Some programs require combustion analysis for furnaces. BPI, RESNET, NYSERDA and many other rater establishments have exacting protocols for combustion safety including combustion gas analysis.  I liken this to an annual physical that is a one day snapshot of your health. Who is to say that next week, next month, something won't fail? Home IAQ should be continuously analyzed to keep homeowners healthy and safe. Why can't the companies that profit from the sale of gas and oil take responsibility for combustion safety? Home owners are, for the most part, clueless about the risks and often disconnect or ignore CO monitoring systems because they are annoying or hard to service. I have found many with the batteries disconnected. Or just gone. Locally, LCUB is installing fiber optic and going into the cable media business. This becomes a two way portal into homes. Why not hook smart thermostats and IAQ equipment up and feed a central utility server that monitors air quality, CO, Gas, PM2.5 etc? Increasingly Alexa/Siri driven controls for home appliances are connected with thermostats and smartphones which in turn can be set up to track IAQ. Who better than the power companies that sell what is a potentially dangerous product to oversee the safety of their product? I am guessing, but I suggest that the residential insurance industry would like this idea.

    Anyway, tighter homes will make Indoor Air Quality more relevant to home health and safety, maybe this should be a code issue for oil and gas fired equipment?

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Weatherization Workforce

          One of my clients is an energy services provider that operates within Knox County. They provide the administration needed to qualify homeowners for free weatherization. I do energy audits for them, blowerdoor and duct tests and documentation about the condition of their clients' homes. I am currently on hiatus because, while there is plenty of need, money and expertise, there are not enough laborers. Because of bidding constraints, contractors providing fulfillment are not allowed to bid beyond a certain amount, as a result, wages are not enough to attract workers. This is not easy work. Hot, dusty attics, wet, moldy crawlspaces and homes that are cluttered and in poor condition. Weatherization will not be successful until the people who do the work are paid well enough to attract skilled, reliable labor. 

Monday, June 6, 2022

 Contractors need to get the value of a Blower Door test, not just for code compliance but also for home health. Blower Door testing is the only way to confirm that a home is tight enough to control indoor Air Quality.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

 I have been testing homes for the KUB Round it Up program that CAC is running. Its nice to be back in the game. I am still in awe of the conditions in which so many of our low income families are living. USPS says the deliver mail to 160,000,000 addresses. Most of them are paying a utility bill as well as dealing with IAQ issues in their homes. Weatherization is the best solution for this problem and will save the nation more than the cost of the retrofit. 

Monday, March 28, 2022


 I got lucky and found a volunteer spot for Nashville Conference, so I hope to see friends there.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Energy Audits

     I am about to re-embark on Energy Audits for CAC as a subcontractor. I forget how much redundant detail is required by these reports. These home are participants in the Round-it-UP program and there seems to a level of distrust around how the money is spent. Same thing now with Habitat. What is causing all this? Am I so na├»ve? Is the Weatherization Business really that corrupt?

Thursday, March 24, 2022

I know I'm going crazy, but..

 We cannot "Drill, Baby, Drill!" our way out of conflict with Puntin. "All of the above" energy policy is short term and fallacious. We are living beyond our means in terms of global resilience. Got to find the off ramp for aggression, the costs are too great. Its all about population, so let's all move to the moon and Mars, "To infinity and Beyond!"