Posts Tagged ‘WSJ’

Ice Dams, Ice Dams, Ice Dams

February 10, 2011

Have I mentioned ice dams at all this year?  They’ve certainly been a huge problem throughout the Midwest and Northeast this year. Well, let’s hit it again. But rather than repeat myself, I’ll point to you some resources.

First, do check out the fact sheet and an FAQ on the causes of and solutions for icicles and ice dam problems on the GreenHomes America website. A lot of great information, there.

Of course, you can also search this blog for a lot of previous posts and pictures describing the problems of icicles and ice damming.

wendy bounds ice dam good morning americaLast week I mentioned a WSJ article on this by Wendy Bounds.  Well, she took that story to the airwaves in both radio appearances and on Good Morning America earlier this week.  I think there is too much emphasis on the temporary quick fix, but kudos to Ms. Bounds for pointing out that insulation and air-sealing are “the best cure”.  And how!   An ounce of prevention–and you save money and make your home more comfortable at the same time!



Icicle and ice damming problems–it’s déjà vu all over again!

February 2, 2011

GreenHomes; Roof IceIt’s a bit like Groundhog Day, that charming movie starring Bill Murray.  (And incidentally, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow today, and thus we’re due for an early spring—hard to believe given the weather over the last two days.)   Just like BM’s character reliving Groundhog Day again and again, we keep seeing homes with icicle and ice damming problems over and over.  And we keep seeing some short-sighted “solutions”.

We’ll likely see a lot of problems over the next week or so with all the snow that’s been dumped across the Midwest and Northeast in the last couple of days. 

And so it’s interesting to see an article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, Homeowners Beware:  After Snow, the Ice Dam Cometh.

big icicles; roof iceReporter Gwendolyn Bounds points to some of the risks to your home from ice damage and leaks.  (And the danger from falling ice or falling off your roof if you’re foolish enough to climb up threre to try to shovel it.  Don’t get up on your snow covered roof—it’s very dangerous, and you could get seriously injured or die.)

It was interesting to see some of the solutions offered:

  • Pay someone to remove ice from your roof.  Cost $200-$300 per hour!  Perhaps $1,000 per instance.   And keep losing heat from your home.  And next big snow storm, do it again.  And so on, and so on.  I guess that’s OK, if you’ve got money to burn.
  • Pay to install electric ice melting cables.  Hmmm, send a lot of money to the utility to heat your home, create an ice problem on your roof, and then pay somebody to install electric cables so that you can send more money to the utility.  Sounds like a good idea…for the utility.  (BTW, don’t forget to turn the cables off and not let them run all summer.)
  • Or, fix the underlying problem so that you don’t get the ice build-up to begin with.  And save energy and lower your utility bills permanently.  And make your home more comfortable, cozy, with few drafts.

OK, I’m biased.  But there really only seems like one solution that makes any sense in the long term.  It’s too late for this storm.  So keep your fingers crossed that the ice doesn’t hurt anyone or lead to a roof leak.  But learn more about the real causes of big icicles and ice damming, and take the steps to have a good home energy assessment and air-seal and insulate your attic properly to avoid the problem—and save a lot of money that you currently pay the utility—in the future.


LA Times: Energy-efficiency tax credits gutted

December 26, 2010

The LA Times reports what we touched on several days ago.   The extended federal tax credit is much lower in 2011 than is was in 2010.   This is certainly a big step backward in terms of a good national energy policy (a phrase you almost can’t use “national energy NONpolicy” might be better.  But in many states–including California–the outlook isn’t bleak.   In CA, for example, Energy Upgrade CA, is just about ready to kick off in earnest (we’ve already be delivering improvements under the pilot phase.   And as I mentioned last time, many generous state, local, and/or utility incentives still exist or are just coming on line.  Give us a call or visit our website to see how we can help.

And be proactive about it.  While the jobless numbers are still way too high, the U.S. economy has begun its climb–expected to be a long, slow climb, out of the dumps.  And with it, energy prices are climbing.  As reported in the WSJ, pre-Christmans trading saw oil futures climbing above $91/barrel again, up more than 13% since November.  “Several major banks expect prices to reach triple digits next year as demand rebounds with the improving global economy.”    And retail gasoline price are climbing, reflecting a broader impact to consumers.

Dollars invested in energy-efficiency start saving now, and provide even greater protection as energy prices increase.  So while the gutting of the tax credit isn’t a good thing, it’s still the right time to save.  Take the steps now.


Do it right the first time

August 30, 2010

I adored the WSJ article by Scott Adams that Mike pointed us to on Thursday and I was laughing out loud at a lot of what Scott had to say. Although the path he walked was flawed, and his end result is probably still not as efficient as it could be, he captured the essence of something that we believe in here at GreenHomes America: Being ‘green’ is about finding solutions that both reduce energy consumption and meld with your lifestyle, so they are sustainable in the long run.

Although his underlying premise was something we believe in, the way he went about building his green home is at odds with our philosophy, which is ‘do it right the first time’.

Building a home or upgrading/retrofitting a home are like going into surgery – you want a doctor you can trust. If you choose someone like Dr. Nick Riviera (from The Simpsons) you will inevitably find that you end up with more problems and bigger problems in the long run. If you need proof take a look at these contractor bloopers (and more, and more bloopers). If you are serious about the health of your home you should choose a reputable contractor with years of experience who does not cut corners. Enter, Greenhomes America.

At Greenhomes America we take the efficiency of homes seriously. We don’t go for the ‘quick fix’ because we know from experience that it will end up costing you more in the long run. That’s why we always start with a comprehensive energy audit, so we can identify underlying problems and give you detailed insight into your home’s issues and your options for resolving them.  And why we recommend you use a BPI Gold Star Accredited Contractor like GreenHomes.

And Mr. Adams, if you’re reading this, please give us a call.  I’m certain that we can make your house perform better so you’re comfortable, your energy use drops, and that meter “spins backwards”!  Just tell our operator that I sent you.

The Dilbertesque view on green building

August 26, 2010

Scott Adam, the creator of Dilbert, has a funny–and all too true at times!–take on green building in an opinion piece in the WSJ.  Energy effiiciency, radiant floors, photovoltaics.  Ah, if only he’d called us first!  (Thanks for the heads up on this piece, Tiger!)

WSJ clip: Small Fixes Lead to Big Savings

March 24, 2009

The Wall Street Journal posted this video to their site.  It gives a good sense of what a home energy audit entails in a short clip, with some blower door footage. 

GreenHomes gets a nice mention, and that’s our Senior Advisor, John Scipione, with the infrared camera.


“Clean” coal not a panacea

March 22, 2009

In a column on Friday, Jeff Ball of the Wall Street Journal talks about the Coal Hard Facts: Cleaning It Won’t Be Dirt Cheap.   It seems right on.  Of course, this doesn’t even address the impact of mining itself that I raised in an earlier post.

Minor and even major tweaks on the energy supply side won’t save us.   The economy and the environment require that energy-efficiency be a cornerstone of our solution.   Fortunately, efficiency allows us to save money AND get the other benefits we need.   What’s not to like about that!


Amory Lovins Makes Sense!

March 9, 2009

Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, the man who 30 years ago inspired me to move into energy-efficiency, makes just as much sense today.  And his arguments seem more powerful and urgent than ever.  Check out this brief interview in the WSJ.  [Thanks to Larry Zarker of BPI for pointing it out!]


The true cost of energy

February 9, 2009

In Environmental Capital, the WSJ blog, Keith Johnson writes today about the true cost of electricity.  With external costs hidden, dirty coal, for example, seems like a better deal than solar or PV or even the best deal of them all—efficiency.  We pretend pollution isn’t there, that coal ash spills don’t happen, the miners don’t get hurt, and that climate change isn’t happening.  But as the financial meltdown of the past several months shows, the hidden cost doesn’t stay hidden forever, and when they expose themselves, we get bitten.  It would be wiser indeed, for us to recognize the energy future right now and start doing something about it today.  And energy-efficiency is the place to start.


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