If you are considering a heat pump

This article by Henry Gifford, an energy saving specialist discusses why heat pumps are no panacea.  His points, well made, bring home the messages that building envelope efficiency is critical and the importance of examining the entire energy chain –  from power house to your house.  Not that readers of this blog need reminding, but Henry also points out that over half of this country’s electricity derives from coal burning . (BTW clean coal = oxymoron du jour)

www.energysavingscience.com/

http://www.finehomebuilding.com/departments/taking-issue/heat-pump-schmeat-pump.aspx

kohilo

The Kohilo Whole House Fan is designed to be more financially available (yes, that is a genteel word for cheaper) than our flagship units. How did we do this ? We replaced the motorized damper unit and electronics board with a backdraft damper.

A backdraft damper is pushed open with airflow and falls back (by gravity) when the fan is off. This provides a basic seal (nothing like our motorized dampers), but has no insulation.   In severe climates the Kohilo grille will have to be manually insulated at the end of the season.  We do provide an upgrade path for customers so that they can upgrade to the full AirScape functionality and convenience.

Energy Star Rated What ?

We have always been a bit miffed that whole house fans are not eligible for an Energy Star rating. It was always our impression that the feds were too busy to find the time to recognize and certify one of the best energy saving technologies around. (That’s a Whole House Fan, BTW) So it came as a pleasant surprise, to see that one arm of our government (the GAO Government Accountability Office) was doing its job.

The folks at the GAO submitted several bogus products to test just how carefully the EPA (administrators of the Energy Star Certifcation) examined products and claims. Now, this is where it would be funny if it wasn’t true. Here is one product they submitted:

So that's how you save electricity... make it gas powered ? DUH !
As if this wasn't enough, they also submitted an "Air Room Cleaner". Yes, that is a duster attached to what is apparently a fan/filter unit. (It was also approved.)

What are the lessons to be learned:

  • Make real standards for energy efficiency.
  • Verify performance is to those standards.
  • Fire somebody !

Hats off to the GAO people !  Not so much for the EPA.

See the whole report at: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10470.pdf