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Articles Archive for March 2009

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[13 Mar 2009 | No Comment | 4 views]

The cover of this issue depicts extraordinarily useful information: the homes whose attics are inadequately insulated. British residents can go onto the Web and find their homes-or their neighbors’ homes-to determine their thermal efficiency.
This aerial photo, along with the widely available photos in Google Earth and other services, illustrates the rapidly changing definitions of privacy. Thirty years ago, various groups in the United States used high-flying planes to take infrared photos like this one for the same purpose. But those programs were scotched by people outraged by the invasion of …

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[13 Mar 2009 | One Comment | 15 views]

The elections overshadowed a press release by Energy Star announcing a settlement with LG, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of appliances and consumer electronics. That’s a pity because the settlement sends an important message to manufacturers. It also reveals how valuable LG thinks the Energy Star endorsement actually is.
Recall that Consumer Reports (and Home Energy almost a year earlier) found that LG refrigerators were designed to either circumvent DOE test procedures or were tested in such a manner that led to a much lower energy use than what would …

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[13 Mar 2009 | No Comment | 24 views]

It was good news to learn that Energy Star has finally announced specifications for water heaters. The specification for heat pump water heaters is particularly welcome, since these products have an unusually large savings potential. A heat pump water heater can reduce water-heating energy by half, which translates into over 1,500 kWh per year in many homes. Nearly 40% of American homes use electric water heaters, so the market is huge. This market is unlikely to be tapped soon, however, because there are no significant American manufacturers of heat pump …