View Full Version : 16 Ways to Green Your Home

08-08-2007, 08:42 AM
16 Ways to Green Your Home


The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non-profit composed of leaders from every sector of the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. Our more than 10,000 member organizations and our network of 75 regional chapters are united to advance our mission of transforming the building industry to sustainability.

08-09-2007, 12:02 PM
Thank you Aaron :thumbsup:

11-28-2007, 10:26 PM
Heating/cooling only the space needed in a home has quick paybacks and saves lots of energy.

I have central air/heat and installed a small window AC to be used with a 5kw generator during power outages (some of them have lasted 5 days). The 5000btu window cost about $135 at Lowes and the generator could easily run a couple of these, a refrigerator, freezer, few lights and television. So to try out the window AC in my bedroom (without generator) I turned the central air up to around 85 (for the house) and set the window unit for 70. Then I installed a Kill-a-watt meter to measure the energy usage. Max watts was 550 and it used only 2.2 kwh for the night (about 9 hours), and I was completely comfortable. This showed me...why not use this when the kids are not home and save electricity. My electricity bill dropped to levels I had never seen before in this home...and yet I was still comfortable as I wished. Payback of the window unit was 1-2 months from the reduced electric bill. I am now shopping for a small heater to do the same for winter.

I also installed a small window AC in my mother's home (she too has central air/heat) and she too saw huge results also in her electricity bill, while loosing no comfort. I know this seems simple...but until I ran my "test", I had never thought or read of it.

future pather
11-28-2007, 10:38 PM

Good to know! I had to laugh when you said the generator could run several things and included the tv. I know you were just showing how much power the generator has and how the ac didn't take up too much of its power but I was thinking "and we all know how important the tv is during power outages" - sorry, I must be in a goofy mood.

If you have any ceiling fans you'll want to make use of those too.

I posted the quote from wikipedia somewhere on the forum but you can just look up "ceiling fans" there to confirm this.

In winter you will save heating bill costs by running ceiling fans on low speed with the downward part of the blades leading.

(Moving the hot air that raises to the ceiling down near the walls (rather than straight down and creating a wind chill).

XO Jessica

11-29-2007, 12:34 AM
According to the DOE and other sources, in about 2001, the nationwide average for a home for heating, cooling and hot water was close to about 70%.

Today 6 years later, just heating, cooling and hot water is about 50%.

A larger % is now going to electronic devices, etc... no big suprise.

The 4 largest energy expenses are a home are in this order:

1. space heating
2. hot water
3. lighting
4. cooling

I have 1000 square feet of radiant barrier from here:
Foil Insulation Radiant Barrier - AtticFoil.com (http://www.atticfoil.com/) $135 delivered for this much.

I will lay it in my attic on top of the regular insulation as it reflects 97% of heat in the winter coming thru the roof and 97% of any heat hitting it downwards that moves up from the inside of the house during heating in winter.

I am also applying 2 full primer coats with the nasa paint additive to all ceilings and walls in the house (1 story with full basement)...only applying to main floor at this time.

Radiant heat loss in winter and gain in the summer is THE MASS MAJORITY of all heating gain and loss (RADIANT) and only a very small percentage is from conduction or convection but unfortunately all non-radiant reflective technologies/insulations only cater to conduction or convection but do zero for radiant! Pretty crazy!

Anyway, the majority is radiant loss and gain and treating those happen to be about the cheapest things you could do to so that you can decrease heating costs in winter (locking heat in the house) and decrease cooling costs in summer (reflecting heat away so it can't get into the house).

Using the paint on the interior and the radiant barrier together in the attic will be absolutely remarkable. Also, in the spring, I'll paint the outside of the house with the paint additive as well.

So these very inexpensive measures take care of the #1 and #4 most expensive parts of energy costs for an average home and they are about the cheapest things you can do.

Now, what about hot water #2? A solar hot water heater is preferred so the sun heats most of the water requiring little to nothing from the grid to heat water. Then have your hot water heater supply hot water to tubing under your floors for radiant heating! In the summer, pipe the city cold water supply through the floors and hot air in the house will be drawn to the colder floor and carried out for free.

This method coupled with radiant barriers and paint additive takes care of #1, #2, and #4 with 1 single system. solar water heater + radiant tube floor heating and cooling. In my opinion and this is the system I am currently designing using currently existing packages and parts.

As far as lighting, I'll use full spectrum compact fluorescents in most places unless I really have to have my full spectrum incandescents, which I love even if they do use a lot of power. I'll do all this until LED lights for normal home use is more cost effective with enough light output.

If we concentrate on reducing #1-4 with as little intervention as necessary, that alone takes care of 50-60% of all home energy use.

By that time, the actual electric use is hardly anything and with simple measures to draw electricity efficiently from the grid, it will then be practical and more cost effective to use solar for the rest of the electricity since electric use will be at a minimum.

11-29-2007, 12:40 AM
Hi Kent,

That kill-a-watt meter is awesome! I learned of it from Peter Lindemann and just bought myself the newest version that allows you to enter how much you pay per kwh so you can see what something costs per hour/day/week/month and year.

I would recommend everyone get one to see how much power they are actually using and at what efficiency.

The model I have is the P4460.