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Portland man saves family -- barely -- from carbon monoxide poisoning

This close call is a good lesson for all of us.  Make sure to have a working carbon monoxide detector.  Helping prevent this is why Home Performance contractors like us test gas appliances and their venting for proper function on every job.  

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/12/portland_man_saves_family_--_b.html

VP Biden Announces Home Energy Score Program

Vice President Joe Biden recently released the governments strategy of implementing new home energy guidelines through the use of the Home Energy Score program, consumers will find out how their home compares with others and how much money they could save by adding insulation, sealing air leaks or doing other upgrades. Ten U.S. communities will test the score, similar to a miles-per-gallon label for cars, before it’s rolled out nationally next summer.

“Together, these programs will grow the home retrofit industry and help middle-class families save money and energy,” says Vice President Biden

Great article from Energy Circle about energy audits.

"5 Ways an Energy Audit Will Make Your Winter Better.
By Will - October 4th, 2010

A home energy audit provides a roadmap for greater comfort, healthier indoor air, and lower utility bills. (Image credit: Energy Circle)
Since the earliest days of Energy Circle, we’ve been constantly propounding the importance of a home energy audit as one of the most fundamental steps towards whipping your house into shape, reducing your energy consumption, and saving money on utility bills. “Yeah, yeah, I know I need to switch my light bulbs,” you might say. “My house already has insulation, I don’t need any of that infrared mumbo jumbo,” you might think.

Is Your Insulation Working? Find Out with an Energy Audit.

Winter's coming. It's already heating season. So how do you save money on heating costs? You've got to own your heat. Simple as that. You've paid for all that warm air already, so it doesn't make much sense to waste it now.

A simple enough premise - it's the application that gets complicated. We (and most building science experts) strongly recommend air sealing and insulation as high priority measures to make your home use less energy, make you more comfortable, and make the planet happy.

Upgrade Your Refrigerator, Save Money Twice.

One of the biggest energy guzzlers in your home (besides, most likely, your thermal envelope, which lets expensive conditioned air escape through air leaks and poorly insulated walls) is the refrigerator. Upgrading it, believe it or not, can save you a bundle of money in the long run, as long as you don't simply put your old fridge down in the basement and plug it back in. Now, before you balk at the high upfront cost of replacing your fridge, let us explain why we (admittedly, energy-efficiency/penny-pinching geeks) think it's a good idea:

Energy Efficient Landscaping for Cooling Down.

On cold winter days, a ray of sun streaming into your house can be most welcome - a free source of heat. But what about in the summer, when those rays of sun and other, less-evident solar heat, seep into our already too-hot houses and become a costly nuisance? Well, what happens is that you lose money. But using landscaping (namely by planting trees) to shade your home can be a great way to lower energy costs.

Everything You Need to Know About the Home Star Retrofit Act of 2010.

Pending in the Senate is a bill called the Home Star Retrofit Act of 2010, or simply Home Star for short. Sometimes referred to as Cash for Caulkers in street slang, the bill would provide a series of financial incentives for homeowners to increase the energy efficiency of their homes through substantive, effective improvements to their homes that save homeowners money, reduce our country’s carbon emissions, help to mitigate climate change, and put tens of thousands of Americans back to work.