Friday Round-Up 12/7/2012

Friday, December 7, 2012 14:00
Posted in category Uncategorized

Warming Slopes, Shriveled Revenues

Melting Ice SlopesSnow can be an entrancing sight or an exhausting burden, but for communities dependent on winter sports, it is one thing above all else: revenue.

In recent years, however, the cold cash that used to fall from the sky, giving an economic boost to 38 states, has become less reliable. Winters are getting warmer, less snow is falling, and snow seasons are starting later and ending earlier.

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the climate-themed industry group Protect Our Winters takes a look at the possible impacts of climate change on the nation’s $12.2 billion snow sports industry and the 211,900 jobs it supports.

Read more at the NYTimes Green Blog

Solar Power Installation Prices Fell 14% in Past Year

Solar Installation PricesThe price of installing solar power for homeowners and businesses fell 11-14% in 2011 and in the first six months of 2012, new stats from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory show. In the fist six months of this year, California saw even greater drops in the cost of installing solar panels, an additional 3-7% above the national figures.

The report indicates that the median installed price of PV systems installed in 2011 was $6.10 per watt (W) for residential and small commercial systems smaller than 10 kilowatts (kW) in size and was $4.90/W for larger commercial systems of 100 kW or more in size. Utility-sector PV systems larger than 2,000 kW in size averaged $3.40/W in 2011.

Read more at TreeHugger

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3 Essential Pieces of Equipment for an Energy Auditor

Monday, September 24, 2012 12:09
Posted in category Energy Auditor Articles

Once you’ve decided to enter the field of energy auditing, there are several pieces of equipment that will become an integral part of your everyday work. Three of the most important are a blower door, a thermal infrared camera, and a DuctBlaster.

  • Blower Door: Blower DoorThis is a machine used to measure how airtight a building’s envelope is. Blower doors can also be used to test the airtightness of ductwork, to measure airflow between building zones, and to aid in physically locating places where air is leaking out into the building envelope. Blower door technology was first invented in the late 1970s and has been a primary way to measure leakage factors since that time. A blower door can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000.


  • Thermal Infrared Camera: Thermal CameraThis camera forms images using infrared radiation instead of visible light like a traditional camera. It operates in wavelengths to measure surface temperatures and discover light that is in the heat spectrum. These cameras assure that insulation has been installed correctly and can be used on interior and exterior energy audit surveys. Often, thermographic inspections work in tandem with blower door tests. A thermal infrared camera costs about $4,000+.


  • DuctBlaster: Duct BlasterA DuctBlaster (also referred to as a duct leakage tester) is a tool used to measure how airtight a HVAC (air heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning) ductwork system is. It consists of a calibrated fan to test air flow rate and a pressure sensing device to measure fan-flow created pressure. Together, these measurements determine ductwork airtightness, which can aid in one’s knowledge of how to increase energy conservation.

With these tools, an energy auditor has the ability to create a more efficient home or workplace for his/her customers, saving them money in the long run. Are you an energy auditor? Comment and let us know what tools you wouldn’t leave home without!