21st Century Home Energy Efficiency

Home energy efficiency has steadily improved over the millenia. Luckily we no longer have to sleep on the ground in a smoke-filled cave – cold, wet and hungry (unless we want to go camping…that’s the way my wife looks at it). Buildings, appliances and HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) systems have improved incredibly — even over the last 25 years.

On this week’s show we’ll look at energy efficient buildings from two perspectives. First, the energy efficiency (EE) measures you should consider in a brand new home. Second, the EE measures you can add to your existing home. In both cases we’ll be considering EE actions that are cost effective — not over the top. So I won’t be suggesting quadruple glazed windows, 12” thick insulated walls and a windmill. There are much better EE options that you can implement quickly without breaking the bank.

We’ll also discuss how much of the conventional EE wisdom simply no longer applies. For example, costs for building shell improvements (windows, insulation, etc.) have not declined much – paybacks are still 10+ years. On the other hand, costs for new technologies such as LED lighting and rooftop solar have declined dramatically — with the surprising result that it is often cheaper to generate your own energy than reduce your consumption with aggressive EE measures (I’ve made some enemies pointing out this fact). So tune into this week’s Energy Show for the best and most cost effective ways to reduce your home’s energy costs.