A resource for becoming self-sufficient by making homes work better.
Building, Contracting, Rehabbing, DIY
I became a licensed general contractor in 1982 so have been around long enough to make my share of mistakes, learn from them and begin to understand what durable construction is. This is a skill-set I bring to tax deed properties and it's a good match because these properties often have been neglected for years.
Through the articles, references, and videos you will find help with the many projects that needy houses give you.
Info From Larry Kinney
Windows and Window Treatment
Windows are wonderful devices—they enable us to see outside of our homes, provide natural light, and may be opened to provide ventilation. But windows—particularly inefficient ones—are effectively holes in the insulated envelope through which a great deal of energy can flow. This tends to make energy meters run faster, ultimately resulting in higher utility bills.
Duct Systems in Southwestern Homes
Ducts move air back and forth between air handlers and conditioned spaces in buildings. If they, and the HVAC system and building shell of which they are an integral part, are designed and adjusted properly, ducts can do a credible job of maintaining comfort in most spaces during most of the year somewhat efficiently.
Lighting Systems in Southwestern Homes
Everyone knows that a candle puts out a lot more heat than light, but that is also the case for Edison's wonderful invention, the incandescent light. Large wattage incandescents may produce 16 or 17 lm/W, but smaller ones—like those in refrigerators—only 11 lm/W or so.
Residential Energy Auditing Techniques
Many things affecting energy performance can go wrong in homes and apartments. An energy audit aims at identifying the factors that may contribute to energy waste and comfort problems.
Auditing Procedures and Tools to Extend Vision
In the field, the energy auditing process makes use of a number of diagnostic tools to extend vision and aid in quantifying flow under a number of conditions, some of which the energy auditor creates himself.
The Craft of Energy Auditing Illustrated: The Boulder Pottery Lab
Refrigerator Replacement in the Weatherization Program: Putting a Chill on Energy Waste
Over the past decade, many refrigerator manufacturers have improved the energy efficiency of their products by a factor of three or more. Refrigerators manufactured after 1990 present lower peak loads to the grid and have much higher power factors than those manufactured in previous decades.
Using the sun's lumens directly to supply interior light began before recorded history. However, Edison's invention made it easy to ignore the usefulness of natural light, with the consequence that these days many buildings are built which use much more electric energy than they should, both for lighting and for cooling. Electric lighting has at least three disadvantages vis-a-vis well designed daylighting systems.
Presentation at National Indian Gaming Association (2005)
Resources for Renovated and New Dwellings with Integrated Systems
Homes should be beautiful and functional, inside and out; after all, people live in them!
Assessing The Integrity Of Electrical Wiring
Dense-pack cellulose insulation is a very useful and cost-effective technique for lowering both conductive and convective heat losses in a variety of housing types. In row homes, for example, GRASP in Philadelphia has found dense-pack cellulose to be very effective in treating attic bypasses that can be reached only by a hose.
Measuring the Energy Performance of Appliances
As energy costs increase, it is useful to know how much appliances consume in deciding to adjust or replace them to save energy. Savings follows waste, so measuring the extent of waste is a wise first step in conserving energy.
Snug House Sustainability
How do these homes work? They are coupled to the earth--and decoupled from the earth around them. They are super insulated with cellulose or fiberglass, sometimes both.
Info From Steve Baer
Meanwhile Back in the Jungle
One hundred and thirty years ago we discovered photovoltaics, electricity from sunshine, and in the last decades have advanced the manufacturing of clean, odorless, silent, ageless panels. Conversion of the sun is at least ten times as efficient as photosynthesis, a panel casting the same shadow as a man produces more power.
The Electric Leaf
One hundred years ago photovoltaics were a curiosity, 30 years ago a specialty energy source for space satellites, remote telecommunications sites and irrigation pumps for dope growers. Today the panels are common inexpensive and made by the millions. The electric leaf's arrival is more than noteworthy, it will prove cataclysmic for it promises to change the world.
Star in a Bottle
Ignorance has delayed an inevitable change in financial hierarchies. Modern life has depended on fossil fuels, engines, power plants, immense transmission lines and equipment to use fuel and power.
Who are we, what are we doing? Today science, technology and industry determine everything. Man's drama continues with questions neither he nor his computers can answer.