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Zero Energy

Zero Energy, Zero Net Energy and Zero Energy Ready… What are they and why are they important?  Well, the more energy efficient a home is, the more money a homeowner or renter will save, and the more any renewable energy systems will help contribute to environmental benefits as well.  No matter what you call it, zero energy homes are a great target for both new construction and retrofits! Zero Energy Ready Homes   Here’s a short video from the U.S. Department of Energy on its Zero Energy Ready Home...

Healthy Homes

Your Home Environment May Be Impacting Your Health Several air quality issues in residential buildings may cause decreases in human health over time. “Unhealthy homes,” or homes suffering from bad indoor air quality have been associated with higher rates of respiratory illness, allergies, asthma, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, accumulation of viruses and bacteria in indoor spaces, and others. Luckily, these effects are rarely life threatening, but increasing your home air quality may help you feel better. While it can sometimes seem costly to make improvements related to human performance up front, most cost benefit analyses show that there is a greater benefit over time to make improvements to buildings than to suffer from decreased wellbeing over time. What Are the Risk Factors? Dampness and Mold: Mold in the home has many potential sources. Some potential sources are natural occurrences, such damp soil or foundation, flooding, or heavy rains. Other potential sources may be due to poor construction of the building, such as a bad plumbing system causing leaks. Additionally, air conditioning systems are extremely susceptible to mold due to their nature of pulling in outside air and cooling it down before recirculation. Mold in the home has a wide array of negative health impacts associated with it. Mold particles may contain allergens and chemicals that may illicit an inflammatory response in tissues when inhaled. Additionally, toxic chemicals associated with mold particles may theoretically cause health problems such as inhibited immune system function or central nervous system damage. How do I Prevent Dampness and Mold in the Home? Prevention is the best mold management strategy. If water damaged in noticed,...

Terms & Definitions

Need help figuring out the terminology most frequently used in the home performance industry? Click here for a helpful website on key terms related to home energy efficiency from the NC Cooperative Extension’s Home Energy Management Program. A Absolute Energy Saving Target –  This target is set based on the energy consumption after the renovation and this needs to be below a certain threshold (i.e. reduction in energy consumed) Air Changes –  Expression of the amount of air movement or air leakage into or out of a building in terms of the number of building volumes or room volumes exchanged Air Conditioning System –  Assembly of equipment for air treatment to simultaneously control its temperature, humidity, cleanliness, and distribution to meet the requirements of a conditioned space Air duct –  A hollow conduit or tube (square or round) that circulates air from a forced-air heating and/or cooling system to a room (supply duct) or returns air back to the main system from a room (return duct) Air Infiltration –  the uncontrolled inward airflow through openings in the building envelope caused by the pressure effects of wind, the effect of differences in indoor and outdoor air density, or both (cfm) [m[sup]3[/sup]/s] Air Leakage –  Uncontrolled or unwanted infiltration or exfiltration of air into or out of a building Audit (energy audit) –  an assessment of a home’s energy use B Barriers –  An obstacle or impedement to the implementation of energy efficiency policies or energy efficiency into your home or lifestyle Benchmarking –  Process of building energy performance measurement, consisting of assessing a building’s pattern of energy consumption (with an energy rating) then...

Industry Research

Industry Research:  Provided below are links to reports, studies and other resources on the benefits, opportunities and more for home energy efficiency. 31% of U.S. energy usage comes from homes and buildings, mostly from HVAC. NC is one of the fastest growing markets for clean energy solutions (NCSEA). NC’s clean energy industry has grown by ~25 percent since 2012, reaching $4.8 billion in gross revenues in 2014, up $1.2 billion from 2013 (NCSEA). In 2011, energy efficient homes in NC sold for a $5,500 premium and 90 days sooner than standard homes (NCEEA). In 2013, 16,360 NC homes (32%) were certified for energy efficiency (NCEEA). Due to EE, homes built after 1999 consume only 2% more energy on average than homes built prior, even though they are 30% larger on average 86% of homeowners believe the world will be better off because of energy efficiency 82% believe energy efficiency can help America’s energy independence 72% believe energy efficiency can reduce emissions and delay climate change.* On top of that, 75% of homeowners expect big impact from energy efficient products and services in as little as five years.  YET, only 46% invested in an energy efficiency measure last year, and only 18% participated in a utility-sponsored energy efficiency...

Home Energy in US

Home Energy in US:  Here you will find general information on the impact of home energy efficiency in the US. Energy efficiency trends in residential buildings. Why US homes built after 1999 are using just 2% more energy on average than homes built prior despite being 30% larger on average. Why energy efficiency is being used as the first and best option in reducing carbon emissions across the country. How and why consumer preference for energy efficient homes is increasing every...

Home Energy in NC

Home Energy in NC:  Here you will find helpful information on the impact of home energy efficiency in North Carolina. What’s the size of NC’s home and building energy efficiency industry? $3B+ in 2014 industry revenue = Largest sector of NC’s clean energy economy. 1,200 companies across the state serving NC residents, businesses and institutions. 15,000 full-time workers in our local communities. How NC measures up compared to other states: 3rd most home energy ratings (HERS Scores) in the country (RESNET). 30th in the country for energy efficiency (ACEEE). 2nd most solar installations in the country (SEIA). 7th most LEED certified buildings in the country (USGBC). 2014 ENERGY STAR  Certified New Homes Market Share NC had the third-most new ENERGY STAR new homes in 2014 6,337 total ENERGY STAR homes in NC 18.28 percent market penetration Visit the ENERGY STAR website for a full interactive map.   NC is one of the fastest growing markets for clean energy solutions (NCSEA). NC’s clean energy industry has grown by ~25 percent since 2012, reaching $4.8 billion in gross revenues in 2014, up $1.2 billion from 2013 (NCSEA). In 2011, energy efficient homes in NC sold for a $5,500 premium and 90 days sooner than standard homes (NCEEA). In 2013, 16,360 NC homes (32%) were certified for energy efficiency (NCEEA). The positive impact of energy efficient home certifications in NC.Why your NC electric bill is increasing due to costly electricity generation from fossil fuels. How economics, the environment and employees play a role in clean energy in NC. Click here for publications written by the North Carolina Energy Efficiency...