Tag Archives: building energy

2019 Energy Code – A Brief Summary of Changes

On May 9, 2018, the California Energy Commission adopted the 2019 Title 24, Part 6 Energy Code updates that will take effect January 1, 2020. Key changes for new residential and non-residential projects include mandatory residential PV, new requirements for HERS testing, and updates to non-residential standards. Continue reading

California’s Solar Mandate for New Homes: What You Need to Know

As you may have heard, California recently became the first state to mandate solar PV systems on all new homes. This is a momentous decision for the industry; it brings the benefits of solar, a historically niche product, directly to a significant portion of homeowners. The policy will dramatically expand the size of California’s solar market–already the most mature in the nation–and perhaps it will eventually inspire similar action in other states. Continue reading

Affordable Net-Zero Energy Home Construction in 12 Steps

net-zero energy

Net-zero energy home

Building and designing affordable zero energy homes involves 12 integrated steps that utilize commonly available building materials and equipment along with easy-to-learn building strategies. By following these steps, you can build a new home that is cost comparable to a conventional home. Continue reading

Best Insulation for 2×4 and 2×6 Walls

When you are insulating two-by-four (2×4) and two-by-six (2×6) framed exterior walls and want to use fiberglass insulation, what thickness should you use?

This is a critical question. Adding too little insulation means a colder house. Adding too much insulation means insulation that isn’t properly doing its job, thus a colder house. Continue reading

Solar Incentives in California

Solar panels on  house

Solar Rebates and Tax Credits
California is far and away the most mature residential solar market in the country, which can be both a blessing and a curse in some ways. Overall, it is definitely a net positive for homeowners who live here because they are usually more informed about the intricacies of solar and the state’s solar lobby is powerful enough to fight for important savings tool such as net metering.

But the downside of the mature market is that, unlike other states like Massachusetts and South Carolina, where rebates and energy credits are used to incentivize homeowners to consider solar, California has discontinued almost all of its state-specific solar incentives because the industry is strong enough to sustain itself. Continue reading

Is a Tesla Solar Roof Worth the Investment?

When you hear the name Tesla, you usually stop and listen.  Tesla has built a well-known brand with electric vehicles (EVs). Then, they announced the Powerwall, a solar battery, and most recently, the Solar Roof, a mix of solar and non-solar tiles that is meant to replace a typical solar system. Elon Musk is a smart guy – combining the power of solar with EVs.  The ideas he has make sense, but does the investment?  Now that the long-awaited solar tile system is available, it’s worth asking – is the Tesla Solar Roof worth the investment? Continue reading

Rock-Wool Insulation: What It Is and Where to Use It

The importance of a well-insulated home can’t be overstated: Properly sized and installed insulation can reduce energy usage, keep you warmer in winter and cooler in summer, and save you money with lower energy bills. Rock wool insulation provides thermal and sound insulation and can be used as a firestop between floors.
For homeowners and builders alike, fiberglass insulation has been the insulation of choice for many decades. While fiberglass remains very popular, there’s a relatively new type of insulation that’s making headway—and headlines—in the insulation industry. It’s called rock-wool insulation. Continue reading