The most recent blogs at Lakesideca Advisor

Planning for Backup Power in an All-Electric House

Posted on February 19, 2018 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Writing from central Kentucky, Clay Whitenack poses this question: in an all-electric house, what's the best way of providing power when the grid is down?

Whitenack and his family live in a new house, a house that does not have a fireplace or a wood stove. "This leaves us vulnerable in the event of a power outage during a bad winter," he writes in a post at the Q&A forum. "We live in central Kentucky, so the winters here are usually not too bad, but we do have times when the temps get below freezing for extended periods of time."

Using a Bath Fan to Equalize Room Temperatures

Posted on February 16, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

On Lakesideca Advisor, readers regularly ask questions about room-to-room temperature imbalances — the type of imbalances that may occur when a home has a point-source heater like a ductless minisplit or a wood stove. Here’s a typical question: “I’d like to install a bathroom fan to move air from a warm room to a cool room. Will this approach be enough to equalize the temperatures between the two rooms?”

Americans Are Saving Energy by Staying at Home

Posted on February 15, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


Information and communication technologies are radically transforming modern lifestyles. They are redefining our concept of “space” by turning homes and coffee shops into workspaces. (This article was written in a coffee shop.) Instead of going to the theater, many people sit in the comfort of their homes and stream movies. Online purchasing of food, groceries, and consumer products has transformed shopping. Personal interactions, from the casual to the intimate, are increasingly virtual instead of face to face.

Is R-8 Duct Insulation Enough?

Posted on February 14, 2018 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

If you know a little building science, you've no doubt seen a lot of problems that occur with air distribution systems. Ducts just don't get anywhere near the attention they deserve in most homes.

I've written about ducts quite a bit here and have shown problems resulting from poor design and installation. We all know how stupid some of those problems are. So today I'm going to talk about a problem that doesn't get nearly enough attention: duct insulation — even when the design and installation are perfect.

Can Mirrors Boost Solar Panel Output?

Posted on February 13, 2018 by Joshua M. Pearce in Guest Blogs

Falling costs for solar power have ledLight-emitting diode. Illumination technology that produces light by running electrical current through a semiconductor diode. LED lamps are much longer lasting and much more energy efficient than incandescent lamps; unlike fluorescent lamps, LED lamps do not contain mercury and can be readily dimmed. to an explosive growth in residential, commercial and utility-scale solar use over the past decade. The levelized cost of solar electricity using imported solar panels — that is, the solar electricity cost measured over the life of the panels — has dropped so much that it is lower than electricity from competing sources such as coal in most of America.

Integrating HRVs With Air Handlers

Posted on February 12, 2018 by Bruce Sullivan in Guest Blogs

This is the second of two articles about heat-recovery and energy-recovery ventilators based on training developed by Bruce Manclark and Dan Wildenhaus of . Part 1, which covers equipment selection, is available here. This post originally appeared at the .

Things You Do Not Need

Posted on February 9, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Houses are changing. Anyone buying a new home in 2018 expects the home to be quite different from one built in 1918, of course.

What “new features” is the typical buyer of a new home seeking out? It depends. Some buyers are looking for a foyer with a 20-foot ceiling and a master bathroom with a big Jacuzzi. Others, including the typical reader, are looking for low energy bills and superior indoor air quality.

Can a Tech Company Build a City? Ask Google

Posted on February 8, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation startup owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has announced a partnership with the City of Toronto to develop a new waterfront precinct. Time to ask Google: Can you build a city?

The Quayside precinct, dubbed “Sidewalk Toronto,” is to become a 500-hectare (1,236-acre) sandpit for testing a suite of new tech products. The aim is to radically reimagine the way a city is made. (Further reading: .)

States Step Up for Progress on Efficiency Standards

Posted on February 7, 2018 by Lauren Urbanek in Guest Blogs

In the face of threatened rollbacks and inaction on national appliance energy efficiency standards by the Trump administration, the states are stepping up to protect their citizens and climate. Driven by their desire for climate leadership as part of the , states including California, New York, and Washington are hard at work to ensure that their citizens will save energy and money with more efficient appliances and equipment.

Urban Rustic: Installing a Solar Electric System

Posted on February 6, 2018 by Eric Whetzel in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: This post is one of a series by Eric Whetzel about the design and construction of his house in Palatine, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The first blog in his series was called An Introduction to a New Passive House Project; a list of Eric's previous posts appears below. For more details, see Eric's blog, .

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