More Hot Water

Just found a whole bunch of UK studies of hot water – Yay! Here’s one on the cost-benefit of installing thermostatic mixing valves: “It is very likely that installing TMVs as standard in social housing in new buildings and major refurbishments accompanied by educational information represents value for money.”  Here’s a powerpoint from the American Burn Association discussing scald prevention: […]

Testimonial with an Evidence-based Twist

I love working for people who test things! Here’s a testimonial from last week’s NJ Home Performance with Energy Star job: “Jesse and his crew had the daunting job of air sealing and insulating the attic of our ranch home.  They did great work even though it was in the July heat.  The on again off again heat waves we […]

Improving buildings in the real world

There is an incredible wealth of information on how to construct energy efficient, durable, and comfortable buildings. Sure, most of that information is totally disregarded when buildings are constructed. But it would be difficult to argue that houses in the US are constructed poorly because technicians don’t have access to good information. This wealth of information should be directly applied […]

Changing heating costs

One of the most complicated issues for homeowners is determining whether or not to make a change to their 1) heating system efficiency, or 2) heating fuel type. There are a multitude of factors that could go into making this decision, including: Current system efficiency, Proposed system efficiency, Current cost of heating fuel, Future cost of fuel, Cost of change […]


Testimonials can demonstrate that at some point someone said something nice about you. Despite my skepticism, I’ll be posting some of the nice things people occasionally say about us. None of the testimonials will be from my mother, who probably doesn’t have much nice to say about Tay River anyway. The most striking aspect of our NJ Home Performance with […]

People who don’t pay your utility bills, #1

The US census bureau puts the world population at just shy of 7 billion people. Of these 7 billion, the number who will pay your utility bills is probably even smaller than the number who have been in your kitchen. Today we’re going to kick off the first in a series looking at people who don’t pay your utility bills, […]

Category Construction, News

What the heck is attic air-sealing?

What the heck is attic air-sealing? We get that question a lot. The striking thing about attic air-sealing, is that it’s probably the single most beneficial thing you can do to your house. Per dollar spent, air-sealing will result in the biggest energy savings. It will also improve comfort, by reducing the temperature discrepancies between floors and across rooms. By […]

Put that in your energy modeling software and smoke it!

Here’s a photo I took a few months ago during an energy retrofit. Yup, that’s 110F supply air from the furnace being dumped into the unconditioned attic (for thermal purposes what we call “outdoors”). The most plausible explanation is that this was an attempt to fix a cold master bedroom a few feet away. To make matters worse, the duct […]