Installing masonry heaters

The biggest issue with masonry heater installation is the weight. These heaters are too heavy for a single person to move into place. In fact, the larger units may take a forklift, which is why they should be installed while the home is being built. Some units come disassembled, which makes installation much easier (if you know how to assemble things, that is). In general, installing masonry heaters is similar to installing a heavy wood stove. Refer to Chapter 15 for more details on installing...

Buying an Existing Efficient Home

If you want an energy-efficient home, you can build your own (Chapter 21 explains how), but that's a long, arduous task. An easier and generally less time-consuming solution is to buy an existing efficient home. Unfortunately, not a lot of energy-efficient homes are out there at least not today. This situation will change quite a bit in the coming years, but for now, if you want an efficient home, you're going to have to look hard for one, and you may be disappointed with what you find....

Running hot or cold Changing water temperature

A great way to save energy doing laundry is to use hot water only when you need to. Eighty-five percent of the energy used in washing is consumed by heating the water. A lot of people simply run their machines on hot all the time. You can easily save 25 percent on your washing costs by using cold water most of the time in particular, for the rinse cycle. Look on the label of your detergent for the best ways to use cold water. You can also effectively wash in cold water if you use detergent made...

Energy Sources and Sinks

Understanding where energy comes from Looking into where energy goes in a typical household Sustaining the environment through wise choices ichard Feynman, one of the most famous physics lecturers of all time, began his courses on energy by stating that nobody really understands what energy is. That being said, we all have an intuitive idea of what energy does, namely perform work. It takes energy to make something happen. This book is interested in making do with less energy consumption. If...

Using less hot water

New dishwashers heat their own water, which is far more efficient than drawing hot water from the water heater the way older models do. Keep this feature in mind if you're in the market for a new dishwasher. Believe it or not, a detailed scientific study was performed to determine whether hand washing or machine washing dishes is more efficient. Hand washing a complete 12-piece setting of dishes in a sink used around 30 gallons of water and 2.5 kWh of electricity for water heating. An automatic...

Energy Efficient Mortgages EEMs

There are two types of Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs) one for existing homes and another for new ones. Here's a quick breakdown of who's providing what, but keep in mind that we're talking about the government here, so terms and programs are subject to change at the whim of a congressperson from the boondocks i Fannie Mae, the Federal National Mortgage Association, encourages lenders to provide EEMs by establishing guidelines and certain types of incentives. Check out what's available at...

Plotting the details month by month

Ultimately, you need to do some month-by-month estimations. The power company bill is the easiest, along with water and trash. Here are some rules for allocating other resource costs by month I If you have a propane tank that's filled periodically by the propane company, you'll have a tough time figuring out the monthly usage. Just get the yearly total and divide that up on a monthly basis. If you only use the propane for heat, allocate the cost to those months when you use heat. If you use...

Looking at Community Solutions to Energy Efficiency

Seeing what constitutes a green community Gauging the advantages of energy-efficient communities Taking a back-to-nature approach ifferent types of communities have different attributes that can make becoming energy efficient more or less accessible. With the interest in green living on the upsurge, many cities and states have taken steps to make themselves havens for environmentally conscious citizens. But maybe you don't want to live in a community at all. Perhaps you want to join a commune...

Avoiding Some of the Worst Offenders

We are surrounded by manmade chemicals, and most of them are quite benign. Pesticides and food additives have helped people tremendously (although insects and molds have a different opinion about this). Humans live longer than ever before, and it's largely because of the profusion of modern chemicals in our diets and our medications. If you want to know just how prevalent chemicals are, read some food labels. They list things like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) or butylated hydroxytoluene...

Use Warm or Cold Water instead of

By simply using warm or cold water instead of hot, you can increase your energy efficiency and save money I Wash clothes in cold water. Using warm or cold water in your washing machine can save quite a bit of energy. About 75 percent of the time you don't need hot water. Although this may not work for the dirtiest loads, it works just fine for most. Detergents especially made for cold-water washing help, too. So give it a try, and see what comes of it. The worst that can happen is you have to...

Selling Your Efficient Home for Big Bucks

You want the most you can get for your efficient home, of course. To get top dollar, you need to know what buyers look for when they're in the market for an existing energy-efficient home. The first section in this chapter, Buying an Existing Efficient Home, goes into detail on what buyers should look for. As a seller, here's what you need to know I Keep good records of everything. If you can't validate your energy-efficiency claims, your systems may be worthless. Or even more detrimental to...

Buying and Selling an Energy Efficient Home

Appraising and buying existing energy-efficient homes Looking for a conventional home to transform into an efficient home Selling your energy-efficient home for the most profit 7 he bulk of this book is dedicated to defining energy-efficiency projects you can do in or around your home. But perhaps you're interested in moving into an existing efficient home where everything has already been done for you. Or perhaps you want to move into a conventional home suitable for energy-efficiency updates...

Figuring out a floor plan

The floor plan of a home can impact its energy-efficiency capabilities. Whether you build a large or a small house, a few general design principles apply I Go with a central design. Central designs, in which the home is oriented around a central nucleus, work much better than houses with wings, which are difficult to heat and cool and require more maintenance. i Design your house with heat movement in mind. Open airways, for example, make a house seem more spacious, as well as ensuring natural...

In the summer

Keep the filter clean and try placing it in different rooms to get the maximum effect. The best bet is to place it in your family room (or wherever your family congregates the most). Other things to keep in mind include I Clothes dryers absolutely must be vented to the outside world. This is the single biggest source of humidity in a home. If you use a clothesline to dry things (like delicate garments) and you can't put it outdoors for some reason, put it in...

Building an Energy Efficient Home from the Ground Up

Finding the right lot for your energy-efficient home Drumming up your new home's design Getting into the specifics of materials Biting the bullet and getting started m f you can do it, starting from scratch is the best possible way to go with an energy-efficient home. You have the world at your fingertips, and you can design your new home to your heart's content. You can buy energy-efficient appliances and light fixtures, and you can install an energy-efficient HVAC system, including...

The pros and cons of wind power

Sistema Vacio

It can be generated anytime, day or night. Wind is available almost everywhere, in all climates. In many of the worst climates, it's very powerful. In some locations, wind is virtually a constant (magnitudes may vary, but output is always available). Because wind speeds vary over terrain, you can find locations on your property that provide maximum potential. Ridge lines, coastlines, and the tops of barren hills are the best candidates. Wind power has its...

Slipping through the cracks Radon

Radon can penetrate into a home when uranium is present in nearby soil or rock, thereby introducing radioactivity into your home. Granite, shale, and phosphate bedrock are the prime culprits, as well as gravel derived from these materials. The hazards of radon are the same as with exposure to any radioactive materials. Cancer is the worst. Radon concentrates in basements where leaks through the foundation are common. The EPA did random tests across the entire country and found that up to 25...

Final Decluttering Tips

In an efficient home, there's a place for everything, and everything is in its place. Keeping a home neat and trim is not too different from keeping your body neat and trim. The best results come from cutting down on excess consumption. Here are sundry tips to get you going in the right direction I Use the sun to clean and sanitize. Put cushions, sheets, rugs, clothes, and so forth out into the hot sun. To find out just how well this works, try putting a sweaty shirt in direct sunlight for a...

Operating in secret Biological agents

Natural microscopic organisms include bacteria, viruses, fungi, molds, mildews, and mites. Pollen is a collector of spores from seed-bearing plants. All these can be either tracked in on shoes and clothing from the outdoors, or simply fly in on the wings of chance. And all multiply indoors and can cause irritations and illnesses. The greatest source of nutrition for indoor microbes is the three or four grams of skin that flake off of the average human body once every day. (Did you know that...

Considering lawn alternatives

The one thing you can do to conserve the most water and energy is to get rid of your lawn. Replace it with drought-resistant plants, and don't water them much (create a drought of your own ). You can also replace your lawn with native plants that grow and thrive in your climate without need for additional watering (above and beyond what Mother Nature provides). Barring that, you can I Set the height levers on your lawn mower an inch higher. Less heat will hit the dirt beneath the grass, thereby...

Watering Your Landscaping

Most people have some form of landscaping, and many people have extensive landscaping, including a lawn, which is the most water- and energy-intense form of landscaping you can imagine. In a yard, you can conserve water through your landscaping choices and through your choice of sprinkler. The following sections tell you how to use less water and energy in your yard. For green landscaping supplies, check out the following sources I Composters.com (www.composters.com) I...

Water supply

A city's water supply is critically important for a number of reasons. First, it must be pristine and clean. Otherwise, you'll have to buy drinking water or a filter system. Some cities have grungy-tasting water, and even though it may not be harmful to your health, it still makes you feel grungy. Second, some cities simply don't have enough water. You can conserve, but if too many hands are reaching into the pie, costs are likely to rise, as is the amount of pressure to reduce usage even more....

Considering a solar or tankless water heater

Most North Americans (almost 55 percent) heat their water with natural gas. About 38 percent heat water with electricity. (The few others heat with oil and liquid petro gas.) However, two types of water heaters are increasingly being used for their energy efficiency solar and tankless water heaters. I Solar water heaters are the best from an energy-efficiency standpoint, but the economics vary greatly from region to region and depend on your power rates and rate structure. From a pollution...

Recycling the Right Way Saves Everybody Energy

In 2005, over 80 million tons of paper were recycled, but that's only a small fraction of all the paper that gets used. Americans also go through 4 million single-use plastic bottles every hour, yet only one in four gets recycled. So what stops folks from recycling Mainly inconvenience. Thus, the best way to make recycling a reality is to set up a system that's convenient and easy to use. For everyday recyclables (paper, plastics, glass, and so on), put bins in the kitchen, if you can. You're...

Looking at Bills resource costs

Bill lists his resource costs as follows i Bill called PG amp E and got four years' worth of history, broken down by month. Figure 3-1 shows one of Bill's typical electric utility bills. The bill is for the period from 1 12 2007 to 2 12 2007. The total for the bill is 403.30. i Because they have a well, Bill doesn't have a water bill, but the cost of his water supply shows up on his electric bill because the well is powered by an electric pump. i The household fills a 64-gallon trash container...