Home Energy magazine

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I'm becoming a fan of Home Energy magazine, although so far, not enough that I'm willing to pay for it. The couple times I've seen it, it was offered for free at trade shows.

Several times while I was reading the current issue, I thought, "this is good, I should share this," so here I am.

* Writer Steve Mann offers a look at energy-efficient mortgages, which are offered by the Federal Housing Administration to help those who may not be able to afford the up-front costs of energy-efficiency measures to get to the good part afterward — saving money on utility bills for them and reducing greenhouse gas emissions for all of us.

The fact is, we need collectively to greatly tighten efficiency in housing, and the biggest bar to this goal is the upfront cost, so such programs are vital.

* Another way to spread energy efficiency in housing is to require it, in the same way all domiciles require smoke detectors and all construction jobs have to be checked at several points by building inspectors before they people can move in.

They're doing that for energy efficiency in Britain, as entertainingly layed out by Rod Janssen — you can't put a building on the market until it has been audited for energy performance and can display the results on a standardized certificate.

* Robb Aldrich, an engineer with Steven Winter Associates, reports on Wisdom Way Solar Village, an ambitious community of very low-energy homes in western Mass.

* The only bummer in the issue is story about the Chimney Balloon, a product designed to be a low-impact block to chimney drafts in between fires. It seemed a fair exposition, and probably was, but on the second page, there's a big-old ad for ... the Chimney Balloon that quotes the writer of the story. At a minimum, it undercuts the editorial content by raising the question of whether it was "placed" by the advertiser.

Speaking as one reader, the question did not taint the other stories, which I found informative and authoritative.


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