When I first met Jackie O’Neil in 2006, I was blown away by her understanding of green building. She built two net zero energy homes (for herself and her sister) and was able to do it for the price of non-green new home. So when I planned to stop by her amazing house recently, I was expecting to feel a little envious, but I wasn’t expecting any new surprises. And yes, jealous I was. She has a gorgeous home with all the ammenities and she has no utility bills– in fact she gets paid by the power company because she generates so much energy with her solar panels — she can sell the electricity to the power company!
But that was not the surprising part– I knew that from my last visit. What blew me away is where the real energy savings comes in — its not necessarily the solar panels or the geo-thermal heating unit. They are great but they don’t even factor into the majority of the energy savimgs. What Jackie learned and what she is happy to share — si that 80% of the energy savings comes from the passive stuff. Where are the windows– how well insulated is the house.
The way Jackie summed it up is like this 80% of the energy savings comes from the passive stuff– the things you will have any way. The last 20% of savings comes from the big ticket items– like the solar panels and geo-thermal HVAC. So what can you take away from that. here are a few things to think about when creating your own master plan for energy savings.
DO THE CHEAP STUFF FIRST.
– REPLACE YOUR LIGHT BULBS WITH CFL BULBS.
– MAKE SURE ALL THE DRAFTY LEAKS IN YOUR HOME ARE SEALED. THEN STEP UP YOUR INSULATION.
-AFTER THAT THINK ABOUT YOUR SYSTEMS. DON’T BE IN A RUSH TO REPLACE THEM UNTIL IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.
ALL OF THESE THINGS CAN HAVE A GREAT IMPACT ON YOUR MONTHLY BILLS. BEFORE YOU SPEND ON THE BIG TICKET ITEMS– THINK ABOUT HOW THEY FIT INTO YOUR HOME’S ENTIRE ENERGY STRATEGY.. INCLUDING HOW LONG YOU PLAN TO BE IN YOUR HOME.THEY SHOULD BE THE “LAST” PURCHASES YOU MAKE.
HAVING A MORE ENERGY EFFECIENT HOME WILL NOT ONLY SAVE YOU MONEY EACH MONTH– IT WILL MAKE YOUR HOME MORE APPEALING TO POTENTIAL BUYERS– IF YOU CHOSE TO PUT IT ON THE MARKET.
For more tips see my new story on green building on the LiveWell HD TV network. For local listings visit: http://www.livewellhd.com/feature?id=6775183