How Can We Build New Homes That Use As Little Energy As Possible? What Modifications Can We Make To Existing Homes To Save Energy And Money? Does Energy Conservation In The Home Mean A Lower Quality Of Life?
Yes, it's possible to build house that are positive energy homes. It means they produce more energy that they use. By choosing the right materials, insulating, and using solar water heater, solar electric panels, you can achieve that. There is very little knowledge about all these skills as builders have focused to building low cost homes.
Easy conservation tips for existing homes are:
* decrease your water heater temperature. You will lower your bill and avoid chances of scalding.
* use water efficient taps aerators (1.5 Gallon/min) and shower heads (2 Gallons/min). Tap aerators cost only a few dollars. Check with your city. In mine, they are giving it for free.
* use high efficiency washer/dryers. You will save energy, water, money, and find your clothes cleaner. They are very cheap ($1000 the pair) during thanksgiving sales. Moreover your utility company might have some rebate program. I got $200 rebate from mine.
* check your insulation: put foam pads on electrical outlets that are on a wall that separate the inside from the outside. Check your attic stairs (put light in the attic, close the attic door, if you see light your attic opening need insulation)
* lower your temperature in winter and wear a sweater. Do the opposite in summer.
Energy conservation does not lower quality of life. It's just increases efficiency and can even increase the quality of life (more insulation means no cold drafts…)