Sunday, April 3, 2011

Energy Efficiency Can Make Things Better

Personally, I'm a bit of an idealist and believe that energy efficiency can put us on a better path as we move forward in time..... 



For the U.S. economy, energy efficiency solutions create the need for skilled local labor to provide direct service to energy using equipment that we use in our buildings every day. At the same time, energy reduction will help offset the energy consumption from the inevitable growing use of electronic devices; therefore reducing the need to invest in new expensive energy producing facilities that are often directly and indirectly funded through tax payer money. The energy efficiency industry will create job growth adding to more spending to the economy, while building energy conservation reduces individual and business "benefit-less" expenses lending to spending on investments with return. This will then help individuals, businesses, and the government to reduce debt and become a more sustainable society. (I suppose it should be noted that I don't believe energy efficiency is the silver bullet to cure all economic woes, but is a simple opportunity to play a big part in making an improvement)


For our environment, renewable energy resources will play a role in our sustainable energy portfolio. But energy efficiency will help reduce our need for excessive energy consumption. No matter the technology, energy production will require natural resources from coal to silicon. The procurement of these resources may not only produce carbon emissions, but more evident destruction of the natural world by strip mining mountains or adding mineral pollutants to food and water sources. For that reason, energy efficiency is the cleanest, safest solution for the new energy industry.

For the physical health of us all, energy efficiency goes beyond energy savings. It also lends itself to air quality and comfort. While air-sealing and weatherization keeps conditioned air from leaving the home, it also lends itself to keeping outdoor contaminants from entering the home. High efficiency heating and cooling equipment come with better filters to remove particles from the air, without restricting air flow. In addition new controls allow for more comfort with less stress, all while reducing energy consumption. (It could be debated that energy efficiency would have an impact on our health care system but I won't take it that far)

For the physical health of us all, energy efficiency goes beyond energy savings. It also lends itself to air quality and comfort. While air-sealing and weatherization keeps conditioned air from leaving the home, it also lends itself to keeping outdoor contaminants from entering the home. High efficiency heating and cooling equipment come with better filters to remove particles from the air, without restricting air flow. In addition new controls allow for more comfort with less stress, all while reducing energy consumption. (It could be debated that energy efficiency would have an impact on our health care system but I won't take it that far).

The bottom line is that in America, we expect a certain lifestyle of always improving the way we live. That may mean wanting to wear t-shirts in the middle of the winter, having the best home energy gadget, or leading the world in energy innovation. There are a lot of obvious opportunities to use our energy more wisely. Developing the energy efficiency industry will help benefit us as individuals and as a society.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What is Green Home?

A green home is not a 5,000 square foot home with bamboo floors and a rooftop covered with a garden, and an elevator. Like this massive home with a Environments for Living Diamond Award but a $366 energy bill at: http://on.wsj.com/notgreenatall This Las Vegas home is nothing more than a status symbol. That said, if it takes a status symbol to encourage more people to consider long term environmental and cost benefits. Maybe that's not so bad?

A green home might be a 5,000 square foot net-zero home with a 98% Furnace or 21 SEER A/C, a 10 kW Solar PV array, little uncontrolled air infiltration, adequate insulation for it's climate and hi-tech controls for comfort as well as lighting. But even then, it takes a lot of material resources to build that structure. Then, after the structure is built it takes more energy resources to heat and cool the large volume of the home. Even if the energy is offset by renewables, is that really green?

A green home is most definitely a home that is realistically sized for it's inhabitants, utilizes energy efficient practices, and is a healthy place to live. Whether it's a single guy, or a family of four, or the family of four plus grandma there is no need to live in a house with rooms that are visited once a year. Home sizes have double since 1950, while family size has decreased. Why? ( http://n.pr/avghomesize ) It should be energy efficient first, before installing a large renewable energy resource like solar or wind power. Yes solar is sexy, but efficiency is better for your wallet and it can improve comfort in the home. A healthy home is mostly related to indoor air quality. A healthy home is free of outdoor pollutants like pollen or critters, but also free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that often come from paints, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, glues and adhesives, permanent markers, etc (visit the EPA website for more examples: http://bit.ly/epavoc )

A green home can be something we all live in. It doesn't need to be super-expensive status symbol or a hi-tech gadget. It just needs to be a well built house that provides a comfortable living space while being cost effective. By utilizing the right amount of properly installed conventional building materials with some newer technologies, we can all live call our green homes, just home.

Written By Energy Efficiency Eric

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Announcement of Switch Energy Solutions

Hello Friends, Colleagues and Clients,

Over the past several years of working at Standard Renewable Energy, I have had the pleasure of working with each of you. November 5th will be my last day working at for Standard Renewable Energy. I am excited, however, to announce my next venture where I hope to continue working with many of you. As Standard Renewable Energy exits the Colorado market Switch Energy Solutions will fill the growing need for energy audits, energy efficiency and renewable energy installations.

"Switch to Comfort, Switch to Savings, Switch Energy Solutions."

With many of my same passionate, dedicated and knowledgeable teammates from SRE, we will continue to provide the best energy solutions available and utilizing the many rebate incentives available to help improve the energy usage of homes and businesses. Also, keep an eye out for Energy Efficiency Eric. If you want to bring your school, work or neighborhood community together, I will be happy to provide a workshop related to home and business energy solutions.

Please note that I have a new phone number and email address. If you have any questions about these changes please feel free to call, email and/or sign up for the Switch Newsletter.

Thank you for your continued support of the new energy economy.

-
Eric Van Orden, LEED AP
President & Founder, Switch Energy Solutions

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