Thursday, September 27, 2012

Energy Awareness Tips

Here are some good tips for anyone living in a house – whether you own a house, rent one or are building a new home. Doors are a huge source of energy loss or, if you follow the tips below, energy savings. Enjoy!

MAUMEE, OHIO – How many times have you heard someone call out, "close the door, you're letting the cold air in!" This common refrain has been heard in households for years. Now, during October's Energy Awareness Month, experts at Therma-Tru offer tips on how to keep the cold air outside while keeping energy bills low.

"Doors are a critical part of the housing envelope, so it's important to evaluate and maintain their energy efficiency throughout the year," says Derek Fielding, senior product manager for Therma-Tru Corp. "Along with your main entry door, you have side doors, sliding and hinged doors, garage doors and doors leading from the home to the garage. That's a large number of openings that need attention to maintain energy efficiency in the home."

According to Fielding, homeowners should always purchase an ENERGY STAR® rated door for their specific geographic area. In addition, there are several ways homeowners can assure their doors are helping support the overall energy efficiency of the home, including:

Tip #1 – If you're looking for door, be sure to select one made of fiberglass. A solid fiberglass door is up to four times more energy efficient than a solid wood door, plus you get the benefits that fiberglass has to offer, including resistance to rot, rust, dings and weather. Available in an assortment of styles, Therma-Tru® Classic-Craft® doors can come with woodgrain for staining or a smooth surface that can be painted to accent any home design.

Tip #2 – If you're replacing an entry door and want one with decorative or privacy glass in the door or sidelites, take time to research your options. Try to select doorlites and sidelites that have triple paned glass, which helps make the entire door more energy efficient. If only a two-paned glass is available, request a Low E coating on the glass that can enhance the energy efficiency of the unit.

Tip #3 – Reach out and touch your door on both hot and cold days. If you feel the exterior temperatures on the inside surface, then your door may not have adequate insulation and you should consider upgrading it with a replacement that is more energy efficient and has an ENERGY STAR qualified rating for your geographic area.

Tip #4 – Inspect the weather stripping around all sides of every door in the home to make sure it has not worn out. On a bright day, stand inside near your door and look for daylight flowing through the door perimeter. If light is coming in, then so most likely, is external air and possibly moisture. That means it's time to determine if your foam-filled weatherstripping may have lost some of its compression, cracked or has flatted out and needs to be replaced. An easy way to determine what weatherstripping you may need and order on line is to visit the door replacements parts section of the Therma-Tru website at

Tip #5 – Open and close your doors --- on both dry and wet, humid days. If your door fits tightly on humid days, then it's most likely leaking air on dry days. You may want to consider a high-performance door made of fiberglass to prevent this type of swelling and add more energy efficiency to your home.

Purchasing a New Door

If your older entry door serves as a leaky energy drain on your home, then it's time to invest in a new high-performance entryway. Many homeowners in the past 25 years have embraced both the energy-efficiency and beauty of durable fiberglass doors.

According to the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), fiberglass products are known for their reliability, customization aspects for style design, and energy efficiency. Fiberglass doors have an abundance of features outlined by AAMA at

Constructed as a complete system of components, Therma-Tru fiberglass doors are designed and engineered to work together for lasting performance, security and energy efficiency. Multi-point locking systems that engage a series of locks at several places on the frame, impact-rated decorative glass options, plus the adjustable security strike plate that withstands up to three times the force of a standard strike plate, are key factors in creating Therma-Tru's dependable entry door system.

Homeowners looking for durability in their doors can also rely on the Tru-Defense® Door System. This system maximizes the seal between the door and the frame to help keep out the damaging effects of wind and rain, while increasing energy efficiency. Within this optional upgrade system, the weatherstripping, corner seal pad, door bottom sweep and profiled sill all work together to provide a door system that can withstand severe weather conditions along with day-to-day family activity.

Homeowners interested in researching fiberglass door design options for their own homes can use the free "Door Designer" program (located at and the "My Saved Doors" tool (located at


About Therma-Tru

Therma-Tru is the nation's leading manufacturer and most preferred brand of entryway doors. Founded in 1962, Therma-Tru pioneered the fiberglass entry door industry, and today offers a complete portfolio of entry and patio door system solutions, including decorative glass doorlites, sidelites and transoms, and door components. The company also offers low-maintenance Fypon urethane and PVC products. Headquartered in Maumee, Ohio, Therma-Tru is part of Fortune Brands Home & Security. (NYSE: FBHS). For more information, visit, or call (800) 537-8827.

Images at:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Green Button Energy Saving Initiative Showing Promise

They say that knowledge is power, but when it comes to knowing how much electricity their home is using, most consumers are in the dark. 

In fact, the typical homeowner—on average—spends about 6 minutes per year interacting with his or her electric utility.  Because of that, they're missing out on opportunities to save some energy—and money.  That's beginning to change, however.

A year ago, the White House laid down a challenge to the nation's electric utilities: make it easy and fun for consumers to learn how much electricity they're using in their home.  A new report by IEE, an institute of the Edison Foundation, finds that they're succeeding.

Since October 2011, 20 electric utilities—representing almost 30 percent of the nation's homes—have voluntarily created, or have committed to create, a "Green Button" on their website.   Now, whenever they want, consumers can go to their utility's website, click on the Green Button, and download data about their home's energy use. 

To make consumers actually want to do so, Green Button also specified that participating utilities would have to use the same, standardized format to present the data.  This way, tech companies and software developers would have a large enough market to justify their investment in creating new energy saving apps for consumers. 

To further encourage app developers, the Department of Energy partnered with Itron and PG&E this past spring to host the Apps for Energy Challenge.  In just two months, the competition attracted over 12,000 followers and helped facilitate the development of 56 Green Button enabled energy saving apps.

Leafully won the grand prize for their app that helps consumers understand how their home's energy use affects the environment:  instead of displaying energy usage in dollars or kilowatt-hours, Leafully displays it in terms of trees needed to offset the resulting carbon dioxide.

If you would like more information about the new IEE report on the Green Button initiative, as well as its recommendations going forward, please let me know.


Keith Voight

Edison Electric Institute

Monday, September 24, 2012

I Say Set New Metrics for Green Building

This is great news but if more money and effort is being invested on lifecycle costing just so that more "output" can be achieved by businesses aren't we defeating the purpose of sustainable living?

One example I have is a developer in Costa Rica. The firm is headlining itself as a green development and many aspects of the "mini mansions" are green but who needs a 6,000 square foot vacation home? 

I say let's continue down the path of sustainability but let also start "building green" in order to "live green"….not just doing it to increase our bottom lines.

Better Metrics of Green Benefits Needed, According to New McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Executive Brief on Decision Making for Green Building Investments
New York – September 24, 2012 – McGraw-Hill Construction, part of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), today released its latest SmartMarket Executive Brief: Determining the Value of Green Building Investments: A Perspective From Industry Leaders on Triple Bottom Line Decision Making, in partnership with URS, at the White House's 2012 GreenGov Symposium. The report provides the findings of qualitative research conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction through interviews with sustainability leaders in the education, healthcare, retail, manufacturing and federal government sectors on their perspectives about decision making for green building investments.

The report reveals that in order for green building to continue to gain market share at a comparable rate to the past decade, more far-reaching benefits need to be documented and demonstrated to organizational leadership for them to increase their level of green investments. These include benefits across the spectrum of financial, environmental and social benefits—often referred to as the "triple bottom line."

"To date, owners have acted on compelling benefits from their green investments, mainly savings in energy, water, waste and lowered operating costs," said Harvey Bernstein, Vice President of Industry Insights and Alliances at McGraw-Hill Construction. "However, these are only a fraction of the advantages offered by green buildings—missing is a quantification of the full triple bottom line benefits from these investments, especially around the social benefits to human performance and well-being."

The study includes recommendations on actions needed in the industry in order to accelerate green investments across the built environment:
  • Evaluate social, environmental and financial goals together when making decisions on green building investments;
  • Create green building benchmarks through standardization and disclosure of operational building costs;
  • Compile data and case studies that establish the value of nonfinancial benefits of green building;
  • Create better tools using a more thorough, industry-consensus definition of lifecycle costing
  • based on impacts across the triple bottom line;
  • Assemble a public database of green project measures across the triple bottom line.
"The data confirm that sustainability is vital to business growth, for us and for our clients. The demand for business to demonstrate its ability to create value for all its stakeholders is paramount," said Lidia Berger, Vice President, Sustainable Practice Director – Facilities at URS. "URS understands how to design, implement and measure the value of sustainable investment. Most importantly, we can provide our clients with a measurable return on investment based on projects' economic, social, and environmental impacts."
Through in-depth interviews with sustainability leaders, the report finds that organizations are using lifecycle cost analysis of operational savings to demonstrate the ROI of green and to justify green building projects. However, most respondents report there is a need for more data about the non-financial benefits of green to encourage their organizations to increase their investment in green building. This report also reveals the need for standardized measures that can fully capture the impact of green building across the triple bottom line.

The results of the study will be presented today at 3:15 p.m. as part of the Economic Valuation session at the White House's 2012 GreenGov Symposium in Washington, DC.
For a copy of the report, visit
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McGraw-Hill Construction's data, analytics, and media businesses—Dodge, Sweets, Architectural Record, and Engineering News-Record—create opportunities for owners, architects, engineers, contractors, building product manufacturers, and distributors to strengthen their market position, size their markets, prioritize prospects, and target and build relationships that will win more business. McGraw-Hill Construction serves more than one million customers through its trends and forecasts, industry news, and leading platform of construction data, benchmarks, and analytics. To learn more, visit

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