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 energy use in U.S.         8 steps to energy efficient home         typical home energy use          how to green your home         buy green         green projects for you         eco ideas for your home         green myths         back to top  



energy use in U.S.         8 steps to energy efficient home          typical home energy use            how to green   your home          buy green          green projects for you          eco ideas for your home        green myths        back to top

Energy Use in U. S.:    Energy Reduction Challenge:

Residential   21% of Energy       Current (2008)    50% less energy use 
Industrial   35% of Energy   2010 Goal    60% less energy use 
Transportation   27% of Energy    2015 Goal    70% less energy use 
Commercial    17% of Energy    2030    100% less energy use 


energy use in U.S.         8 steps to energy efficient home           typical home energy use           how to green your home            buy green            green projects for you            eco ideas for your home        green myths        back to top  

Eight Steps to an Efficient Home:

  1. Order an energy Audit.  Determines how your home is using (and wasting) energy
  2. Insulate and Seal.  Seal air leaks. Insulate outer walls, windows, doors, ceiling.
  3. Conserve Water.  Recycle, Xeriscape, low flow faucets & toilets.
  4. Buy Efficient Appliances & Lighting.  Energy Star appliances. Recycle old ones.
  5. Be Smart About Heating Water.  Use less hot water, turn down thermostat, buy new water heater, insulate/wrap existing water heater.
  6. Use Power Strips.  Reduces appliance energy use. Eliminate "phantom loads."
  7. Consider New Windows.  One of best uses of renovation dollars.  Insulated.
  8. Consider Alternative Energy. Tax incentives and rebates help offset costs.

energy use in U.S.         8 steps to energy efficient home           typical home energy use           how to green your home          buy green          green projects for you          eco ideas for your home          green myths        back to top  

Typical Energy Use in a Single Family Home:


Note:  New California and Federal proposed standards will dramatically raise standards for homes energy saving systems.  Rating systems such as those of RESNET, HERS, CHEERS, LEED Residential, and Green Point will be used.


energy use in U.S.         8 steps to energy efficient home           typical home energy use           how to green your home          buy green          green projects for you          eco ideas for your home          green myths        back to top


  • Use durable materials:  Windows, doors.
  • Location and orientation of home are important factors when building
  • Repair air leaks
  • Insulation (one of the most effective energy/cost savers) is important in attics, walls, and floors.  Make sure it is an environmentally friendly insulation
  • Radiant barriers for remodels and news construction.  (Tape panel joints)
  • Seal air leaks. Detect with 'Blower Door Tests' and 'Infared Photos'
  • Heating & cooling systems.  * Spec A/C to fit building plans.
  • Seal air duct leaks.
  • Tankless, 'on-demand', or solar water heaters will save energy and money
  • Lighting:  1) Natural light, 2) Florescent lights, 3) LED lights (last up to 15 years)
  • Energy Star Appliances.  New: 'Magnetic induction cooktops'
  • Photovoltaic cells - produce energy -  can help homeowners to go "off the grid"
  • Water efficiency - low flow faucets & showers. Faucet aerators, low water or dual flush toilets
  • Paint.  Low on NO "VOC."  (Volatile Organic Compounds)
  • Formaldehyde (eliminate) is used in plywood, MDF, carpets, glue, fiberglass and in cabinets.
  • Carpets.  Buy "green label" or "green label plus" carpets with NO formaldehyde.
  • FSC, "Forest Stewardship Council"  eco-timber products, are "certified" FSC
  • Natural linoleum - sustainable floor tiles (recyclable)
  • Sealed fireplace.
  • Whole house fans, ceiling fans, energy recovery ventilators.
  • On site residential check points for Green Rating:  1) Energy, 2) Water, 3) Air quality, 4) Construction quality
  • How Buildings affect the environment:  1) Use of non FSC timber and wood products,  2) Cement is largest co2 manufacturing contributor, 3) Construction waste products, 4) Not energy efficient structures.
  • Consumer Benefit Potential:  1) United States Government incentives & Rebates,     2) California incentives, 3) Utility company incentives and rebates,  4) Savings (cost) in energy bills.

There are many more ways to be environmentally conscious and build green. Check out our "TIPS" page and request information on a variety of specific topics.  If you would like information and tips at your fingertips you may want to visit your local library or bookstore to get the following two books: Green Building from A to Z by Jerry Yudelson; and 1001 Little Ways to Save the Planet by Esme Floyd.

 Courtesy of  Allen & Associates, AIA, Santa Barbara, CA


http://www.dennisallenassociates.com/index.htm      (CLICK ON WEB NAME OR ON LOGO FOR LINK)

Information courtesy of Allen Associates, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Ventura, Kauai:  Architects, Green Home Builders, Built to Ship, Custom Homes, LEED Consultation Services, Home Performance Contracting; AND from a collection of supporting resources, spoken & written by people who care about being GREEN.


energy use in U.S.         8 steps to energy efficient home           typical home energy use           how to green your home          buy green          green projects for you          eco ideas for your home          green myths        back to top 

Five Things You Should Always Buy Green:

  1. PAINT.  Look for:  Low or, ideally, no-VOC paint (Volatile Organic Compounds)
  2. PAPER.  Look for:  Paper products with a high post-consumer recycled content.
  3. LIGHT BULBS.  Look for:  Compact Fluorescents  (CFLs) or LEDs.
  4. APPLIANCES.  Look for:  Appliances with the Energy Star label.
  5. FRUITS & VEGETABLES.  Look for:  Organic, local, in-season produce. The most important to buy organic to avoid pesticide residue:  Apples, Bell Peppers, Celery, Cherries, Imported Grapes, Nectarines,  Peaches, Pears, Potatoes, Raspberries, Spinach, Strawberries.


energy use in U.S.          8 steps to energy efficient home           typical home energy use           how to green your home          buy green           green projects for you          eco ideas for your home          green myths        back to top

Plan Your Own Green Projects

Energy improvement projects can  cut power usage and greenhouse gas emissions in half.  They are often easier to do than you imagine and will save you more money than you expect.  However, houses and living situations differ, so tackle your own plan.  Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Make a full list of projects to reduce your energy use.  Here are some resources.  EERE consumer tips: www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/index.thml.   Home energy saver:  www.hes.lbl.gov  EEBA Energy Checklist:  www.eeba.org/resources/publications/hec/index.html
  2. Don't do projects that aren't feasible for your residence or situation.  Just throw these out or put them    on a list to be considered later.
  3. Evaluate each project -- estimate the cost, energy savings and greenhouse reduction.  See if you can    come up with a rough idea of what it would cost and what kind of savings to expect.
  4. Make a master list of projects that you intend to do over time.   Using your evaluations from Step 3, weed out the projects from your original list of possibilities that don't seem worth it or that may not fit your    budget.  This should leave a list that makes sense for your situation, economics, and the planet.
  5. Sequence the Projects.  Put them in the order you want to do them.  All things being equal, you might do the projects that save the most money first.  But there are other factors; such as  the fact that some      projects may interfere with others it done too early, some projects may not fit your budget, and you might just be more interested in some projects than others.
  6. Do them!  Have fun and keep track of your projects.  Be proud of the results.  Here are some additional resources:  "Insulate and Weatherize" a book by Bruce Harley, www.builditsolar.com 


energy use in U.S.          8 steps to energy efficient home           typical home energy use           how to green your home          buy green          green projects for you           eco ideas for your home          green myths       back to top

Eco Ideas for Your Home

  1. Ditch the Paper Towels.   Instead use micro-fiber cloth towels.
  2. Java Scrub.  Mix some used coffee grounds with your favorite hand soap for an exfoliate 
  3. Soy Candles.  A cleaner and greener choice.
  4. Dodge the Drafts.  Stop drafts at windows and doors with a long fabric tube.
  5. Be Sparing with Paint.  Don't over buy paint - and use low or no VOC paints.
  6. Put your computer on sleep.  Remove the screen saver and put computer on sleep or standby mode.
  7. Recycle Your Cell Phone.   Bring to a Call2Recycle box or turn in to your phone store.
  8. Bring on the Bandannas.  Try bandannas instead of paper napkins when entertaining.
  9. Trap Your Trash.  Use a trash can with a tight fitting lid to keep trash in its place
  10. Make Donations.  Give FreeCycle a try.  It connects you with people who may want your throw aways.


energy use in U.S.          8 steps to energy efficient home           typical home energy use           how to green your home          buy green          green projects for you          eco ideas for your home          green myths        back to top


  • "Recycling wastes more energy than it saves."

TRUTH:  Recycling aluminum cans  cuts energy use and greenhouse gases by 95%  compared with the energy to manufacture new products from raw materials.

  • "Natural cleaners don't disinfect."

TRUTH:  Natural cleaners are highly effective in the bath and kitchen.  Studies show that all you need to wipe out Salmonella, Shigella, and E.coli bacteria is a combination of household hydrogen peroxide and undiluted white or apple cider vinegar.  Put  them in two separate spray bottles and spray directly surfaces as well as fruits and vegetables.  Vinegar can also help control mold in the bathroom.

  • "Plastics are safe in the microwave."

TRUTH:  Common food-grade plastics (ie. yogurt & margarine containers or disposable plates) have NOT been tested for microwave safety.  Plastics can release chemicals that interfere with hormones in food.  You should microwave foods in glass or ceramic products.  Also, cover a food dish with paper towels, not plastic wrap.

  • "With China and India pumping out so much carbon dioxide, there's no reason for me to cut back mine."

TRUTH:  It doesn't hold a lot of water to say "If someone else is polluting, so will I."  In fact, the average American produces 3.8 times the the average Chinese and 10.7 times the average Indian.  As opposed to what you might think,  per-person emissions / the carbon footprint of Americans is not only increasing, but accelerating.

  • "Keeping your heat on one setting is more efficient that turning it up and down."

TRUTH:  "Setback" - reducing or turning off your heat or A/C when you're sleeping or not at home is in fact MORE efficient (and comfortable) than keeping your home at a single temperature in summer and winter.  Of course if you live in a "freeze" area, don't turn your heater completely "off" in the winter to avoid freezing water pipes.

  • "Over its life span, a hybrid is less eco-friendly than a Hummer H3"

TRUTH:  Theoretically the cost of manufacturing and recycling of a "Prius" (for example) along with what was assumed a short life span, outweighs it fuel savings.  In fact, the highly efficiency of hybrid vehicles will send them quickly whizzing by the Heavy gas guzzlers (Hummers, trucks with large motors, and SUVs) in terms of energy savings.





energy use in U.S.          8 steps to energy efficient home          typical home energy use          how to green your home         buy green         green projects for you          eco ideas for your home         green myths         back to top

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