Passive? Platinum? PREFAB?!?! All of these describe houses that are part of the new Green Paradigm. Whether a building is old or new, the greening is all about imagination, space planning, use of materials, and, yes, cash. But the effect is WOW!
2. ENERGY AUDIT, Part 1: ProfessionalCall your public utility first! (Our energy bill comes each month with the power company's suggestions for savings, including info about Smart Home Rebates and incentives they offer - like a free or discounted professional audit.)
From "Survey" to "Home Energy Rating Standards (HERS)", Residential Energy Services Network gives clear explanations of what is involved in evaluating existing homes as well as homes being designed. Move on to their "Find Certified Auditors & Raters" page to search for a pro who is qualified to rate your home.
This interactive survey by D.O.E. can help define where your home's energy usage can be improved and even how much money it'll save you! One problem: the "window count" is tricky - make that, impossible - if you live in a twin or row home, so fudge the number, because the overall exercise is useful.
A room-by-room interactive guide, put together by LEED-certified design professionals, shows strategies to consider in putting together the "greenest" possible home building project. (LEED: acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the Green Building Building Council's rating system for the construction industry.)
An important INSULATION FACT SHEET from D.O.E.'s Oak Ridge National Laboratory discusses the reasons for vaporous accumulations, where to look for them, and how to prevent them - all important to consider when energy-auditing your home.
European engineers began their quest for minimized home energy consumption in the '80's. The building techniques and final consumption numbers are impressive.
SLIDESHOW: Home Energy Management Gets Real
What to look at (maybe buy!) before your energy company provides you with a "Smart Meter". Here are some smart devicesthat control and monitor the use of energy in the home. They can save you money and they're increasingly affordable!
Here's a blow by blow account (a 3+ year process) of what it took to build a "passive" energy house in the wilds of northern Minnesota. From choosing window glass to the heavy timber roof framing to the solar power system to the "air tightness" tests to the green roof, follow this architect's adventures.
Yup, that's right. The Japanese car company is connecting home electric generation and management with "electromotive mobility products" (i.e., electric cars) to find CO2 reductions of 50%.
ASK AN ARCHITECT (or BUILDING PROFESSIONAL)
The Green Building Council and LEED-certifided architects, contractors and realtors have generously dedicated time and web space to answer consumers' questions about GREEN ENERGY EFFICIENCY, aesthetics and other concerns.