Energy efficient homes are a major contributor to reducing your energy costs and effects of global warming. Whether you want to build a new home or must adapt your existing home, there are steps you can take towards energy savings of around 40% or more.
Energy costs are soaring.Rising gas prices for drivers. Heating and cooling costs. Running your appliances...
Learning about energy efficient homes is a must if you and your family are to live through the energy crisis that is just beginning.
We are living in interesting times, when we are forced to start paying for the real cost of our energy use for the first time in history. It was always inevitable. Everything in life is finite, so why would oil be an exception? And that while food prices, interest rates, and generally flagging world economies bite!
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Most of us live in non-energy efficient homes.
But what is energy efficiency in the home mean? Important as it is, I think it is broader than measuring your domestic energy use.
I say that because a healthy home environment, one where you feel comfortable and enjoy a rest from the day's stresses, saves personal costs. Of ill-health.
So, it's not just about your energy bill, or emissions. It's also about building sustainably, healthily, for the environment, and for you and your family.
So, besides insulation, heating and cooling issues, here are some other aspects you should consider when you build a home:
The home site. Not just views, close to transport and neighbors but also about avoiding the Earth's energy lines;
Home design. Does it allow you rest, recharge, do your favorite activities?;
Floorplan. Have you got the balance right between open spaces and rooms, affecting cooling and heating?;
Building materials. Do you know that chemical ooze in a new home from its materials can make you ill? Which do you choose?;
Natural building materials, like wood or limestone or manufactured brick, metals and plastics?;
Home decorating. Does your decor make you feel good? No toxic plastics, fillers, paints, varnishes and glues?;
Light. So important in how you feel, and in heating and cooling;
Color. Used colors that fit you, or make you uncomfortable?;
Radiation. Crammed your house with electronic gadgets that emit a magnetic radiation soup? Do you need to?;
Furnishings. Do you know what's in them? Natural or synthetic?
It's time we fitted in with the whole, round Earth that we live on. We diced it, squared it. Hung, drawn and quartered it. It's now or never to start going with the flow of its life currents. Live within limits... and healthily so.
Energy efficient homes can make massive savings
For example, the average monthly electricity bill in the US is just under $100 in 2006. About 78% of that electricity is generated from fossil fuels. And this proportion will only slowly decline, despite nuclear power and growing renewable energy deployment (sources used: Energy Information Administration).
Rising oil and coal prices, investor speculation, peak oil and emission trading are all working to pump up your monthly bill – steeply, just like your car fuel prices have gone... North!
But you could reduce your home bills for electricity, water and gas now by doing some things at your end – the consumer end. Why wait for change at the top?
In the US, home energy use looks like this:
47% on space heating
24% on lighting appliances
17% water heating
6% air conditioning
So, you know that you can make huge savings by looking at areas in your home such as these:
energy efficient appliances
ways to save or re-use water
and so on
There's a lot to know! Hard to know where to start some times.
It is actually quite possible to save more than 30% of your rising power bills and almost 60% on CO2 emissions without buying expensive solar panels.
you can even makeit your business...
Energy efficient homes are not just for people who build new
Yes, of course if we were all in a position to build our own new home, you would look at the most environmentally sustainable, low-cost, low-emission house that would also be a pleasure to live in.
And we need new homes to be built like that. Fortunately you can do so much where you are right now. For most of us that is exactly where we must start.
Perhaps you want ready-made energy efficient house plans but energy efficient home design is best when you consider your particular needs, your location and circumstances.
Even off grid living might be more possible for you than you think.
Libe Chacos is an Australian home builder and designer with more than 20 years experience. He is no ordinary guy and I'm privileged to know him. He holds the Award for Excellence In Energy Efficient Housing and won the Australian 2007 HIA GreenSmart Professional of The Year. Prestigious distinctions...
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