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Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

How to save energy through both societal and individual actions.

Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 11 Sep 2014, 20:51:50

Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House? Follow This 10-Step Checklist

Climate change seems so... global.

Yet many climate change solutions are very... local, because they're based on the way each and every one of us uses energy. Here are ten ways you can reduce the climate change impact of your home.

1. Caulk or weatherstrip windows and doors. Heating accounts for the biggest chunk of most utility bills -- and offers the most opportunities for money and energy savings. Did you know that the energy used by the average home generates twice as much pollution as the average car? Materials for the average twelve-window, two-door house could cost about $25, but savings in annual energy costs might amount to more than 10 percent of your yearly heating bill. According to the Department of Energy, if every gas-heated home were properly caulked and weather-stripped, we'd save enough natural gas each year to heat almost 4 million more homes. You can find weatherstripping at most hardware stores. To minimize indoor air pollution from the weatherstripping materials you use, try water-based caulks like Quick Shield VOC-Free Sealant or Polyseamseal.

2. Install storm windows and doors. Combination screen and storm windows and doors are the most convenient and energy efficient because they can be opened easily when there is no need to run heating or cooling equipment. Installing high efficiency ENERGY STAR windows can reduce heating and cooling costs by 15 percent; you can save from $125-$340 a year when you replace single pane windows with their ENERGY STAR equivalents. If you don't want to buy new windows, cover existing windows with a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on the frame. You can buy a ready-made kit again at most hardware stores. A third alternative? Thermal draperies, made with a thick, fiber-filled backing to fit snugly against the entire window frame, can reduce heat loss by as much as 50 percent and save you $15 per window each winter. Even simple heavy drapes can save about $10 per window annually.

3. Insulate. You can reduce your energy needs by as much as 20 to 30 percent, and save about four months' worth of household energy, by investing in insulation. Focus on your attic floor or top floor ceiling, crawlspace, exterior walls, basement ceilings and walls, and rooms over unheated spaces, like garages. The "Simply Insulate" website, maintained by the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, will tell you how much insulation you need in the different parts of your house, depending on where you live. Think about using cotton insulation made from recycled cotton or denim scrap that will have no impact on your indoor air quality, unlike the formaldehyde ingredients in fiberglass insulation.

4. Install a programmable thermostat.


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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby jedrider » Thu 11 Sep 2014, 21:13:19

Use LED light bulbs. I've practically finished my conversion with a few holdouts, but they will fall soon enough.

Living in a two-story house is always good as the lower level should always be more temperate.
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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 08 Dec 2014, 15:55:37

Carbon Neutral Homes: The Future is Flat-Packed

In February 2008, the first 100% carbon neutral flat-pack home was revealed by ZEDFactory – Zero (fossil) Energy Development. It was affordable, quick to put up and revolutionary in the way properties are designed.

The house was designed to be erected within a few weeks, and the cost of £150,000 for a three-bedroom property was seen as a huge step in making such eco-friendly homes affordable for more people.

ZEDFactory said that its flat-pack home has a Code 6 status, which is the highest level in the sustainable building code. The innovative idea has since developed and it could well lead the way to many more such eco-homes appearing over the coming years.

Key Features of the Eco-Homes
Wooden frames are used to build the houses, which is a carbon-neutral material. On top of this, they use eco-concrete that provides excellent energy efficiency and allows the building to absorb and release heat more slowly. As a result, the insulation is up to three times higher than in standard homes.

The buildings also make use of plants on the roof to attract birds and insects. On the south facing side of the room, solar panels are installed to generate energy for up to four people. A small wind turbine can also be added, and the energy can be used to sell back to the grid or to power an electric car.

A biomass boiler is used to heat the water in winter using wood chips, and a grey-water system and low-flow showers are used to reduce water usage.


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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Mon 08 Dec 2014, 22:24:19

A leaky house is the best for my climate
No insulation lots of cross flow ventilation.
If I sealed it up and insulated I would need air con.
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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 11 Jun 2015, 18:33:52

New California Building Efficiency Standards Set the Stage for Zero Net Energy Homes by 2020

The California Energy Commission voted unanimously today to approve updated Building Energy Efficiency Standards which according to the CEC will cut regulated energy use in new homes by 28 percent and save consumers $31 a month compared to houses built under the current energy code. The new standards also set the stage for zero net energy new homes in the state within five years.

The new standards, known as "Title 24," will go into effect on January 1, 2017 and set minimum energy-saving requirements for new buildings and renovations that will reduce energy used for lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, and water heating.

With tens of thousands of homes built every year in California, the energy savings will add up to big environmental benefits: for buildings constructed and retrofitted in 2017 alone, the CEC found that standards will cut energy use by about 281 gigawatt hours of electricity and 16 million therms of natural gas per year, reducing harmful carbon dioxide pollution emissions by about 160 thousand metric tons per year. After 30 years of construction, the CEC estimates that these savings will add up to the equivalent energy use of twelve large power plants.

One Step Closer to Zero Net Energy

The majority of the changes to the standards will apply to single-family and low-rise multifamily buildings. California has set goals that all new residential buildings will be zero net energy (ZNE) by 2020 and new commercial buildings will be ZNE by 2030. In general terms, a ZNE building is one that produces as much energy (generally through onsite renewable energy) as it consumes. Given that 2020 standards are right around the corner, the CEC chose to focus on improving the residential code and making modest improvements to the commercial code under the current update. Today's standards are a great step toward meeting that 2020 goal.


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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby ralfy » Thu 11 Jun 2015, 22:47:10

Given the point that construction involves significant material resource and energy use, then zero net energy is highly unlikely. That can probably be achieved only when the use of both decrease significantly.
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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby jedrider » Fri 12 Jun 2015, 10:14:09

An ZNE house is a tree house almost by definition.

At that point, might as well have a house surrounded by lots of trees, i.e. stop deforestation, leave the land unmodified. Stop building roads! Probably the single most destructive thing in modern civilization: The Road.
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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby dolanbaker » Fri 12 Jun 2015, 12:15:19

Probably the single most destructive thing in modern civilization: The Road.

No it's agriculture!
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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby dolanbaker » Sun 14 Jun 2015, 05:53:39

I was in Pakistan 20 years ago and we had a landrover that hat a "tropical roof" fitted, this was a second sheet of steel placed about 2cm above the roof. All the suns energy was dissipated by this first layer of metal so the inside of the vehicle was much cooler.

A similar effect could be employed in housing in tropical areas relatively cheaply, just have a ventilated cavity in the walls and roof to block the solar heat being conducted to the interior of the building.
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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby vox_mundi » Mon 26 Sep 2016, 16:10:15

Room in Room saves on heating by pitching a tent over your bed

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Heating bills in colder climates can be a nasty surprise and turning the thermostat down on a chilly night can be an unpleasant exercise in economy. Room in Room is a modern take on the four poster bed from tentmaker iKamper that aims to help reduce those heating bills. Based on popular South Korean indoor tents, it's designed to go over the bed and conserve a sleeper's heat, so the room temperature can be kept down. The design is the focus of a Kickstarter campaign running through December 26.

The Box Bed may seem like a historical curiosity to those who grew up with central heating, but for centuries it was the height of luxury. The box bed is a wooden cupboard used for sleeping that was developed during the Middle Ages and continued in use in some parts of Northern Europe until well into the 19th century. Like the later four poster bed with its canopy and heavy curtains, the idea was to create a small enclosed space around a sleeper whose body warmth would help to heat the trapped air.

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This is also the principle behind small camping tents and the Room in Room is essentially a floorless tent that's designed to fit snuggly over a number of different standard-size mattresses. Made of a bespoke high-density polyester cotton blend called Tetron Cotton with 0.3 mm polyurethane windows over a frame of fiberglass and aluminum 601 alloy, the Room in Room tent has a mesh vent on top to facilitate fresh-air ventilation while retaining warm air inside.

The creators say that the temperature inside Room in Room is about 10º F (5.5º C) warmer than the surrounding room. This allows the user to keep the house temperature lower during sleeping hours in the winter time while remaining comfortable. The company claims that regular use can save about 10 percent on heating bills.
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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 26 Sep 2016, 17:29:02

Why not just get a classic fourposter bed and hang heavy drapes on it in the traditional fashion? This set up is like trying to unnecessarily reinvent the wheel.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby vox_mundi » Mon 26 Sep 2016, 19:06:12

Tanada wrote:Why not just get a classic fourposter bed and hang heavy drapes on it in the traditional fashion? This set up is like trying to unnecessarily reinvent the wheel.


Because a classic fourposter bed with drapes will set you back $1500-2000, while a tent will cost $150.
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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Mon 26 Sep 2016, 20:47:07

GASMON wrote:I stayed with my brother in law for a few weeks last year in Bangkok. Nice house but they have reverse problems i.e. keeping the house cool.

In Thailand modern largish houses are solid wall concrete 4" - 6" walls, un insulated, as are the roofs, un insulated, single glazed windows also so the air con (one in every room) runs virtually 24/7 to keep the place cool and liveable (around 21 - 24 deg C). It costs a fortune in electricity to keep the cool IN and heat OUT.

They too need to learn about double glazing and wall / roof insulation. Most buildings are painted white / cream to reflect heat, roofs mainly red tile. but they are single wall with no cavity insulation

I discussed this with my brother in law, double glazing is available over there at a high cost, but isn't standard. Not a lot can be done about the single wall other than cladding the outside with insulation, which no-one seems to do domestically.

His house and mine (in Northern England) are of similar size and age (20 years old). His electricity bill year round is quite a lot more than my year round combined gas (heating & cooking) and electricity bill. The cost / unit for electricity is slightly less in Thailand than the UK. He does not have gas.

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Theres too much mass in the walls holding the heat in insulation will make it worse.
Shading and cross flow ventilation is the answer.
But modern housing is built for air cons traditional houses leaked and cooled down they had lots of shady verandas and raised up high to create shade and allow wind to move freely to cool it down.
These are known as Queenslanders built a 100 plus years ago for the tropics and sub tropics in Australia
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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 26 Sep 2016, 21:38:12

vox_mundi wrote:
Tanada wrote:Why not just get a classic fourposter bed and hang heavy drapes on it in the traditional fashion? This set up is like trying to unnecessarily reinvent the wheel.


Because a classic fourposter bed with drapes will set you back $1500-2000, while a tent will cost $150.


You need to learn how to comparison shop, brand new queen size metal frame canopy bed Walmart $169 reduced from $189.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/36699423?wml ... 3=&veh=sem

Add some drapes, I found drapery fabric for $15/yard^2. Figure the queen size bed will need two yards width at head and foot, three yards width on each side for a total of 10 yards aka 10 bolts of fabric 36" wide by 56" high. You will also need 3 additional bolts to form the canopy top. That gives you a total area of 16.5 yards^2 for $250 in fabric to create your own canopy of heavy weight drapery fabric. Sure its not a neat hippy/yuppy/stylish bed tent you put on your bed, but it will do a heck of a job keeping you and anyone else in your bed warm on a cold winters night.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby Zarquon » Fri 04 Nov 2016, 23:26:16

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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby Subjectivist » Sat 05 Nov 2016, 12:21:14

Most of my lights, all the ones that get used frequently, have been switched to LED's, my home is well insulated, I have a high efficiency furnace and keep my heat at 65 F or less all winter.
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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 05 Nov 2016, 13:52:37

Well, we moved to a boat. No heat, no AC, 100% renewables. :-D

And it's an old boat so we didn't add by constructing a new one!

But a big part of the problem is the existing housing stock. I encourage all to take any and all steps you can but how do you significantly improve a 40 year old 20 story apartment building? Sure there are bits and pieces you can do. We can not replace all inefficient housing.

Think about this impractical solution. Limit each person to 200 square feet of living space. Move them to the most energy efficient buildings. Abandon the ones that are now empty. That would make a major improvement.

Tough problem we inherited from our parents which we will pass on to our kids.
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Re: Want to Reduce the Climate Change Impact of Your House?

Unread postby Rod_Cloutier » Sat 05 Nov 2016, 21:06:53

I live in a townhouse, I'm not allowed to do ANY RENOVATIONS, not even paint. Millions of people live in apartments. What about all the people who can't upgrade their residences?

Wait for the slum landlord to invest in energy saving windows? Petition the local crime boss to improve rental conditions?

https://youtu.be/uqLr5PR6sbM?t=46s
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