Responding to Higher Energy Costs, the Home Building Version

Michael Giberson

An article in the Washington Post discusses what you can do when building a new home to help keep energy costs low. Here Michael McKechnie of Mountain View Builders in Berkeley Springs, WV, provides a summary:

McKechnie outlined the major steps to building a house with the lowest possible energy costs and perhaps an eye to going off the grid at some point: “Design your house so it uses the sun’s passive energy to its fullest potential, make sure the envelope around your house is tight, invest in renewable energy systems that use the sun and the wind to make free energy, and buy heating and cooling systems that use energy more efficiently.”

Just like it is complicated and less effective to retrofit a ten-year old SUV to be more efficient, it is complicated and less effective to retrofit old homes. (Which doesn’t mean some steps are not cost effective, of course.) The Post article provides a survey.

And what about that ten-year old SUV? Have you considered taking a rickshaw?

14 thoughts on “Responding to Higher Energy Costs, the Home Building Version

  1. My 10 year old SUV is doing just fine, thank you. It is just really “broken in” at 154,000 miles. It currently gets ~10% better mileage than the EPA estimates on its window sticker; and better mileage than the same vehicle in the 2008 model year, even adjusting for the revised EPA mileage estimates.

    I plan to run it until the wheels fall off. Hopefully, by then, I can buy a new PHEV which gets much better MPG, even if it doesn’t get better miles per unit of resource energy consumed. I doubt it will last long enough that I can replace it with a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle at a competitive price.

  2. Good lord, it’s the seventies all over again! Passive solar homes! Solar hot water heaters! Infatuation with insulated R values!

    Of course, houses were a hell of a lot smaller in the seventies. Can you even passively heat a McMasion? How big is the solar array needed to heat the hot water of seven bathrooms? Good thing that those McMansions have so much roof!

  3. buy a foreclosed house

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