» 12 things architects assume you are doing to cut energy usage at home

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Bike Logo12 things architects assume you are doing to cut energy usage at home

There are certain things that an architect assumes you know and are practicing when they begin working on a new building or home project. A Renovation usually costs less than new building these days and when people understand the conversions they can make themselves it can save even more money and resources. So check these assumptions out.

  1. You have changed out the light bulbs in your house to the new energy efficient alternative.
  2. That when you leave your house ALL of your appliances are unplugged and not leaking energy.
  3. That you have insulated your home and had an energy audit by your local utility company.
  4. That you purchase only the most energy efficient appliances.
  5. That your computer systems and entertainment centers are on smart strips (as seen on Oprah) surge protectors.
  6. That you keep your furnace or heating system turned down or on vacation mode when no one is home.
  7. That you have the most efficient heating system you can have for your area.
  8. That you are investigating affordable solar panels/hot water heaters and calling often to your local utility company to see when they will be available.
  9. That you do not race your vehicle up to stop lights and jerk through traffic wasting fuel.
  10. That you use environmentally safe soap and washing products.
  11. That you audit your own energy usage on a monthly basis.
  12. That you have taught you children how to save energy – such as turning off the lights and not using too much shampoo. (Remember 1.2 billion people do not have access to clean water)

Let us know which ones you are already employing in your home and which ones are new to you and yours. How did you educate yourself to these resources? Do you have some more suggestions and how do these work for you?

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Fri, January 9 2009 » Inspiration

3 Responses

  1. Nils Davis January 28 2009 @ 9:50 am

    Why would *architects* be making these assumptions? It doesn’t make much sense to me. Are they doing these things themselves in their own homes? In particular, some of these are easy (#1, #6, #12), but some are – imho – unreasonable.

    #2: Unplugging all unused appliances? I don’t see that happening in the real world. (Corollary – the appliances need to be better about not using energy when they’re not being used.)

    #4: Purchasing only the most energy efficient appliances? Sure, when you give me a $10,000 bonus to do so.

    I’m not saying those are bad ideas, but I don’t think they’re all realistic. In fact, I think technologists should be focusing some of their efforts on making them unnecessary (e.g., #2 and #5 should be the responsibility of the appliance, not the user).

    Nils Daviss last blog post..Zero Net Energy Homes Part 5 – Passive Houses

  2. Patricia January 28 2009 @ 3:24 pm

    Nils,
    Welcome to the site, I am sure Tom will come by after work and make a reply. You make some very good points and as the researcher for this post, I thought I would like to add my two cents.
    If the architect is participating in the architecture2030 challenge then I am quite sure they are doing all the things on this list.
    To put together the list I started with the Washington Energy List put out in 1976 and included Oprah’s current list and about 12 in between years.
    Re:#4 you might wish to wait on getting a new washer if you read that post! but there are renovation incentive mortgages coming out – soon – which will give you quite large tax breaks for redoing your house and lowering the energy use and lower interest payments way down It would be as if you got $10,000 to $20,000 off your mortgage. Architecture2030 home page has a great article about these incentive grants today
    It would be great if toasters did not spill energy all the time they are plugged in but they do and maybe manufacturers will get the message?
    We do undo all our appliance or have them on smart sticks and save about $40 off our energy bill for the practice. Oprah has a long list of folks who do this practice and how much money they are saving each month.
    I think I see that we were headed in the right direction in the 70s but backed off when the money was not so tight and to be in debt was so “in” vogue.
    I am coming over to your blog and read about Zero Net Energy Homes…all 5 parts
    Thanks

    Patricias last blog post..Me vs. Them

  3. Nils Davis February 4 2009 @ 2:49 pm

    Patricia – thanks for the response on my comment. I definitely have a few power vampires in my house – microwave oven, TV, etc., that are semi-powered up all the time. We did just get a much more efficient fridge a week ago. And my wife is now asking for a new dishwasher, as ours may be about to die.

    Nils Daviss last blog post..Nabih Tahan on Passive Houses and European Home Building

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