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Project Energy SaversPurveyors of high quality education and outreach materials since 2002.
My experience with Project Energy Savers was a positive one due to the great customer service. The homeowners and householders have been advised about a new and quality oriented trend that is emerging globally for this year and possibly for coming years ahead is to find products and services which will help reducing their overall energy consumption.
Both energy and water saving devices are likely to see a strong increase in interest in the coming months as some aspects of the bathroom become more technology based.
Home improvement experts are of the view that this is all fuelled by the economic and political influences – energy price increases, taxes and awareness of CO2 emissions.
For those who are thinking bigger about their eco-friendly projects should concentrate on the products which make the home more energy efficient as in coming times the prices are now falling in price. If you are going to do some form of home improvement, try moving some of your belongings to self-storage units, as this may make the job easier. Hey, if you don’t have a fire in your fireplace, then make sure you close the damper to keep any heat from escaping through the chimney.
Also, go to your thermostat of your heating system and turn that down a few degrees—maybe down to 66 degrees.
Another thing a lot of people don’t realize, you can turn your thermostat down on your water heater as well.
Now, if you have just a little bit of money to spend, spend it on sealing the envelope of your home. And, also, if you haven’t had a professional heating and cooling contractor come out to your house and service your system within the past year, do it as soon as possible. Now, the homeowners here in this house were faced with the decision a lot of us will face from time to time with having to replace their entire heating and cooling system. It starts with this touch pad, really neat idea here that you’re able to go through the different menu.
But another important consideration which you’ll hear about is the SEER rating, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Sign up for Danny's Monthly Newsletter and stay up to date on tips and tricks for the home.
Although I usually only publish one blog a week, I can’t resist posting a rare Saturday blog to rail against bad advice to homeowners from the Federal government and a national green building organization.
On December 8, I received an e-newsletter, “Energy Newsbriefs,” a usually reliable weekly publication from the Washington State University Extension Energy Program Library.
Published by the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, the document includes an unusually high number of energy-saving tips that won’t save any energy.
For more information on energy myths and Michael Blasnik’s efforts to debunk them, see More Energy Myths. There is some value in checking the furnace periodically for heat exchanger leaks, on top of that, CO detectors should be in place.
Flame sensors need to be cleaned every several years on certain furnace models, if dirty, the furnace will lock out and not restart. I manage a lot of furnaces (in houses) and whenever a blower motor fails, we find it's usually due to fuzz on the motor.
I suspect you are right in most cases, but if we were to take that on faith, we would be guilty of doing exactly what others should not be doing.
I would be particularly interested in a reference in the first item you mention regarding shades. First of all, the link at the bottom of the article sends you to a PowerPoint presentation by Michael Blasnik with more information and some of the references you seek.
You're exactly right about drapes and shades: they are only effective if they include air seals on all four sides. Absent the air-seal at the perimeter, the curtains just create a little tunnel allowing for a convection loop to develop.
The fact sheet includes a table showing that loose drapes can save between 1% and 4% of the energy leaving through the window -- such a small percentage that the typical homeowner wouldn't notice the savings.
Below is an illustration from "Insulated Window Treatments and Coverings," published by the University of Maine Extension Program. The caption reads, "Without a cornice (left), draperies allow air to convect across the window, losing heat.
It seems to me that energy efficiency discussions often rely too much on word of mouth, rules of thumb, gut feelings and other anatomical references.
I see the "curtain myth" come up repeatedly, followed by inevitable discussions of convection currents, etc. What's missing from all these discussions is any mention of the other heat transfer mechanism: radiation. A person's experience of temperature is a function of both the room air temperature and the mean radiant temperature. Of course, the effect is not going to be large enough to show up distinctly in your energy bill. Good to remember though that, like a ceiling fan for summer cooling, it only makes sense if there's a warm body nearby to reap the benefits. It's a sad convergence of public awareness of vampire power and manufacturers figuring it out as well - now we have people diligently unplugging their iPhone chargers which, really draw almost nothing.

Oh, and I sometimes hear of people diligently unpluging things like table lamps which have an actual hard off switch! Yes, a ceiling fan is only useful for cooling when there is a person near enough to benefit from convestive and evaporative cooling. Moreover, I don't think that any advantage gained by preventing radiation from an empty chair to a cold window overrides the losses that occur from convection through the tunnel created by drawing the curtains closed.
I had installed double cellular shades without side seals and found everything I see here about the heat loss to be true.
The cost of the filters and checkup are likely to be more than any possible energy savings.
It seems like the author has confused "energy savings" (reduction in the use and consumption of fossil fuels - or your own generated electricity) with "economic" savings. Here's my take on the issue: any energy-saving tip addressed to homeowners needs to take cost into consideration. It's possible to argue that he saved energy (after all, he stopped buying electricity and natural gas -- I think), but at such a ridiculous cost that his experiment is irrelevant (even stupid).
So, if you are a government agency providing advice to homeowners, you need to start with the low-hanging fruit. In the matter of lugging air leaks, I object to the statement: It’s a job for a home-performance contractor equipped with a blower door.
I will always find savings opportunities in sealing an attic floor that are detectable only by down-and-dirty exploration. The issue you raise boils down to this: if you want to seal the air leaks in an old, leaky, house, is this a job for the homeowner or a home-performance contractor with a blower door? You're quite right that my two sentences -- “Finding and plugging the real leaks is not 'a simple task for anyone.' It’s a job for a home-performance contractor equipped with a blower door” -- don't tell the whole story. A smart, educated homeowner who is capable with tools and has studied air leakage issues can tackle air leaks in basements and attics, even if they don't have a blower door.
I have devoted much of my professional career to educating homeowners and builders on these issues, and I continue to dedicate myself to homeowner education here at GBA. However, the main point of my two-sentence opinion was in reaction the the USGBC's glib pronouncement on air sealing. I disagree with you disagreeing with the "shades and curtains" statements, from my own expierience. You are absolutely right that running a ceiling fan during the winter helps move the air around.
The bottom line is that there has never been any evidence showing that turning on a ceiling fan saves energy during the winter. Since this is possibly the gold standard for energy information from the government, it would be useful to get Martin's comments as well as Michael. As far as getting good information from a "national green building organization", it should be understood that USGBC is not that interested in saving energy. If you go look at an oil boiler which hasn't been cleaned in 3 or 4 years the heat exchanger is often caked with soot and the flue passages nearly completely occluded. The studies I have seen have looked at hundreds of homes -- some with furnaces, some with boilers; some burning natural gas, some burning fuel oil. My house being built on Cape Cod has triple pane, Argon filled, casement, awning or fixed windows. Martin Holladay has worked as a plumbing wholesale counterperson, roofer, remodeler, and builder.
This booklet provides them with dozens of energy saving tips on lighting, cooling, appliances, and more. Homeowners are especially interested in means and ways in the bathroom,kitchen,garden, and general power use. Also, if you have large openings—like we have here—and you have a nice, sunny day; open up those curtains and allow the sun to heat up the inside of your house. Put on a nice sweater, you’ll be nice and comfortable, especially knowing that you’re saving money every hour of the day. Seal up any crack that you can find outside your home, because that will make a big difference in your heating costs, because it will prevent that cold air from really influencing your heating system. That will ensure that it’s working efficiently and safely, and your equipment will last a lot longer. And they chose the Carrier Infinity Series system, which is just state of the art and very, very smart features that it has.
You can see all types of icons that are available here to control the humidity, your air control in eight different zones of the house. In addition to posting comments on articles and videos, you can also send your comments and questions to us on our contact page or at (800) 946-4420. The newsletter advised me to check out “Heating and Cooling Your Home,” described as “four-page 2009 fact sheet for consumers from the Federal Trade Commission [that] assists the homeowner in making decisions about home heating and cooling systems which may need replacement.” So I did. In response, he sent me a link to another appalling list — this one published by no less an authority than the United States Green Building Council. And why would banks, and appraisers, and mortgagers want to hang their hats on something that may not work, or may be flavor of the month, or even a scam? The new high efficiency furnaces are very touchy and I believe will need more regular maintenance than the old gas guzzling units they replaced.

These seals can be found on Window Quilts, for example, that include plastic tracks on the sides, a tight valance at the top, and a Velcro closure at the bottom.
Other researchers have shown that some curtains actually increase heat loss, but I haven't found a link to the reference yet. But first of all, an empty chair will be at 72°F, while a person's skin might be at 95°F, so the amount of radiation from a person is more than the amount of radiation from an empty chair. To take an extreme example, a guy in New Jersey tried to build a zero-energy house a few years ago by investing over a million dollars in a huge PV array that separated water (using electolysis) into oxygen and hydrogen. That means you need to tell people which energy retrofit measures will save the most energy for the least cost. Sealing motivated only by reducing infiltration as measured by a blower door, will miss most savings opportunities. For example, in our living room with the couch placed against a wall with two large windows, in cold winter nights you could always feel cold air "breathing down your neck", due to convection.
Based on reading some of the comments, I'm lead to think that this falsehood lies in the convection currents at work here, but I'd love a slightly more long-winded version. If a person is in the room, "moving the air around" will probably make the person feel a little cooler, since moving air tends to give people a chill. After installing expensive blinds throughout our house (much like you describe, not sealed but very tight fitting) we thought the same thing, because sitting next to the window was more comfortable & you could feel the cold if you raised the blind. I hope readers know about the lawsuit that Henry Gifford filed that challenged the LEED energy statistics. I am curious about your statement that an annual or bi-annual cleaning of a boiler won't improve efficiency.
Is it really possible that a boiler cleaning in this case won't improve the efficiency of the boiler?
I'll repeat something I have written in response to other comments: performing many of these "bad tips" may make sense.
Certainly, any oil-fired boiler with a history of being regularly caked with soot is a prime candidate for regular cleaning.
On average, the cost of annual cleaning cannot be justified by anticipated average energy savings. He built his first passive solar house in northern Vermont in 1974, and has lived off the grid since 1975. And that starts with changing your filter, and I would recommend changing your filter with an electrostatic filter about every two months. And you can also do this same thing with your smartphone, and be able to use your smartphone to control any temperature in your house and all of the other features here.
I have a customer who is replacing a 15 year old furnace due to a hole in the heat exchanger, this is a direct vent appliance.
All surfaces in a house that have a line-of-sight to an uncovered window will radiate towards the cooler surfaces of the outdoors and to the sky. He then stored the hydrogen in huge tanks and burned the hydrogen during the winter to heat his house and generate electricity.
Until the list includes all the items with a payback of 7 years or less -- and this FTC list did not -- there is no possible justification for including advice on ways to spend $200 in order to save $50. Tying sealing to blower door testing excludes most weatherization from sponsor incentives for floor sealing, and gives a wrong message to home owners. If, after learning about these issues at GBA (or your website), a homeowner wants to tackle an attic air-sealing job, that's great. No other changes to the house or heating habits and the first winter we were lucky if we saved 50 gals of propane. I suppose I can see that for NG or propane but we are in Maine were 80% of homes heat with fuel oil. In 1980, Holladay bought his first photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. So that’s a real important consideration when you’re thinking about convenience, energy efficiency. Be sure to clean the filter monthly during times of peak usage; a dirty filter can significantly reduce the efficiency of your HVAC. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.
Savings: Reduce your energy bill by $100 per year or more!” The estimated energy savings are wildly overstated, of course. Savings: Reduce your energy bill by $100 per year or more!” Suffice it to say that no energy expert has ever documented savings of $100 per year due to changing your filter monthly or from paying for an HVAC system checkup every two years. While I cannot scientifically prove our savings, the fact that less cold (cooled down) air is circulating the room, is self-evident to me that shades do provide energy savings.
Weatherstripping and caulking windows won't address the "attic floor pits" shown in the links you provided, as you clearly understand.

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