Thoughts on energy efficiency

A series of articles by Rod Fox, BPI Certified Building Analyst and Seeker of Balance
Efficiency is easy. In all walks of life we get tossed up against difficulties where being efficient is the only way to make it through for the long term. Other methods, like pouring money into the problem or attempting to devise technologies to automate, or even ignoring the problem, rarely work out. And usually, the efficient way, when chosen at the onset of difficulty, is the least costly and least injurious way to go.
Our modern civilization is advanced in miraculous ways; the technology blows my mind every time I think about it. But it's often the absence of high-tech and the presence of simplicity and common sense that makes a product or procedure efficient, or even elegant. This is also the case with buildings. I look at buildings of all shapes and sizes and methods of manufacture every single day and see so much room for improvement. So I've compiled this list of some of the things that I see on a weekly basis as I'm performing energy efficiency audit assessments in homes and commercial buildings. The list below is a way of conveying problems I've found with not only buildings, but the products and behaviors of the occupants as well. Plus, I've added a few other musings about this and that, simply because it makes me feel good to get it out :). I will add to this article frequently so check back often! You might learn something!
I hope that someone can get something out of this material. If, after reading this, someone saves 100 kilowatt-hours or 100 therms over the next year, I'll consider this article a great success!
  1. Building design/construction flaws
    1. In progress... Thoughts? Questions? Click here to tell me.
  2. Computer systems
    1. Optimal power management settings for MS operating systems
  3. Data analysis
    1. Some energy statistics
  4. Some myths about energy efficiency
    1. Geothermal Home Heating & Cooling - Marvelous or Mythical? (this is a great read for anyone contemplating geothermal heating and/or cooling systems)