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Measured Home Performance: A Guide to Best Practices for Home Energy Retrofits in California

The practices described by this website have improved comfort and saved the owners of existing homes between 40 and 60% of their annual heating and cooling costs, while providing a fair profit for the contractors who do the work. These are not estimates. They are the measured reductions in the annual utility bills of real homeowners, in real houses in California.

There are three big differences between these Best Practices and other approaches to home energy savings.

With Measured Home Performance:

  • After the project is complete, the home will be so comfortable and the HVAC system will be so quiet that the homeowner probably won’t even notice when the system is operating. All parts of the home will simply be comfortable, all year round, perhaps for the first time.
  • All of the major energy features of the home will be upgraded at the same time (as opposed to just swapping out AC equipment, or just adding insulation). So these are not small projects. They require a substantial financial commitment from the homeowner, and they demand skills in all aspects of energy design and installation on the part of the contractor.
  • Every key aspect of the home’s energy features will be carefully measured as it is being installed, by the installing crews themselves (as opposed to being measured afterwards by others, when it is too late to make a difference). Major improvements in comfort and energy performance simply do not come without major changes in the installation practices of the past. Measurements by the installing crews make all the difference.
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    The material here is primarily for the benefit of the contractors' crews who need to achieve these major, measurable improvements.

    Interested homeowners are also invited to look through this information if they want to understand how such extraordinary results are achieved, and when they want to know how to identify contractors that really practice Measured Home Performance.

    When all you need is a quick overview, the authors suggest looking at this introductory video and reading through this introductory chapter of the complete Best Practices Guide.

    When you need more depth on any aspect of these practices, go to either the:

  • Chapters from the Best Practices Guide, or the
  • Training Videos which illustrate many aspects of the Best Practices
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    Finally, when thinking about comfort and energy, keep in mind that as with anything in life, big results require big projects. As one famously successful Architect once advised:

    "Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency."
    Daniel Burnham, Chicago Architect, 1846-1912

    This information was funded by the ratepayers of California, and produced by the Gas Technology Institute as a report to the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research Program (PIER)