View Single Post
Old 01-29-2013, 01:42 PM   #424 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Earth
Posts: 5,209
Thanks: 225
Thanked 808 Times in 592 Posts
Originally Posted by Arragonis View Post
OK - this is a very cool thing to have done and very much respect is due and happily given by me

But how was it done, and how can it be applied for most people.

What steps, what actions, what changes, what can be used by others ?
I have not kept detailed records, so I can't tell you exactly what cut my electric use by how much. However, I bought my house about 15 years ago. It's a '60s vintage ranch, with about zero attention paid to energy efficiency.

I live in northern Nevada, at the base of the Sierra Nevada. Temperatures here can range from 100+ on a hot summer afternoon to below zero in a winter cold snap. We also have frequent winds of 60-80 mph or more.

First step was insulation - attic to R50+, added 2" of foam around the outside (with vapor barrier & new siding), double-paned windows instead of the old single-paned aluminum ones. Also replaced the 11 ft wide, floor-to-ceiling picture window in the living room (which looks out on a couple of pine trees about 20 ft away with a more modest sized window (about 8x5). That cut heating & cooling costs dramatically. I've never run the A/C (original vintage, so I doubt it even works): open windows at night cool the house sufficiently even on hot summer days. Most of my heat comes from a small fireplace insert, or solar gain from the enclosed patio/sun porch.

I also have shade trees and other landscaping that helps moderate temperatures (and which in a good year provides apples, cherries, grapes, peaches, pears, quince, and more).

I don't have outside "landscape" lighting burning all night - just a few self-contained solar walkway lights.

All frequently-used lights are CFLs.

Energy-efficient refrigerator & water heater.

Few vampire power-sucking appliances.

No big-screen TV. My main computer is a laptop that draws under 20 watts, and I turn that off when I'm not using it. I do have a couple of others that are major power hogs (quad core plus GPU), but those don't get run that often.