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Open Access Publications from the University of California

From Energy Audits to Home Performance: 30 Years of Articles in Home Energy Magazine


Home Energy Magazine has been publishing articles about residential energy efficiency for 30 years. Its goal has been to disseminate technically reliable and neutral information to the practitioners, that is, professionals in the business of home energy efficiency. The articles, editorials, letters, and advertisements are a kind of window on the evolution of energy conservation technologies, policies, and organizations. Initially, the focus was on audits and simple retrofits, such as weatherstripping and insulation. Instrumentation was sparse sometimes limited to a ruler to measure depth of attic insulation and a blower door was exotic. CFLs were heavy, awkward bulbs which might, or might not, fit in a fixture. Saving air conditioning energy was not a priority. Solar energy was only for the most adventurous. Thirty years on, the technologies and business have moved beyond just insulating attics to the larger challenge of delivering home performance and achieving zero net energy. This shift reflects the success in reducing space heating energy and the need to create a profitable industry by providing more services. The leading edge of the residential energy services market is becoming much more sophisticated, offering both efficiency and solar systems. The challenge is to continue providing relevant and reliable information in a transformed industry and a revolutionized media landscape.

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