Tag Archives: energy

Hooray for the Vestibule

Entry Vestibule


A flip-up seat makes it easier to change shoes


The house has an entry space, a vestibule that serves several functions. In cold weather, closing the inner door helps to keep the heat in when people go in and out.
It’s a privacy barrier on occasion if unknown or unwelcome people come to the door.
It’s a place to take off wet or dirty shoes; and the tile floor can stand to have wet shoes, umbrellas and the like put on it. The little seat folds up against the wall. Its useful to sit on or just rest your foot on, to make it easier to put shoes on. To further encourage the inhabitants to take off outdoor shoes, there is a built in shoe store, which can be seen behind. Like all the custom millwork I made for the house, the seat and the closet door are made from the cherry wood harvested from the trees that formerly grew on the site.
Having a way to help prevent dirt from being tracked into the house is part of the Green agenda.

Cabinet showing house construciton, and LEED Certification diploma


There is also a little display that shows part of the wall construction, with the closed cell rigid foam insulation, the certified wood framing, and low-VOC products. Alongside are the Energy Star information and the LEDD for Homes Silver certification

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DOE halts sales of Air-Con air conditioners for failing energy standards

A news item as reported on Smart Planet

http://www.smartplanet.com/business/blog/smart-takes/doe-halts-sales-of-air-con-air-conditioners-for-failing-energy-standards/10946/

Good to know that energy efficiency does actually mean something and will be upheld in practice.. The standards are ratcheting up – some Green standards are not really ahead of the codes in some areas.

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LED Lighting

LED bulb in standard light fixture

I bought my first LED bulb for the house, at a sustainable energy fair , for $40.00 which is comparable to online prices.  It’s a 6W bulb that gives the equivalent light to a 50W incandescent.  These bulbs are rated for something like 60,000 hours, should last me a while…  This particular light gets turned on a lot, since its in a corner over the dining table where the only window is heavily blocked by trees  (the one area in the house not well lit with daylight).  Also my wife often complained that the previous lamp was too bright and felt like an operating theater, so its the perfect place to try it out.   The payback will be… at 16c a kWh…   actually only about 4 years which is not too bad.

On the left, the lit lamp shows a few of the individual LED bulbs glowing.  On the right, unlit, it is much like a conventional incandescent bulb

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First frost – climate change

We had our first frost of the season last night. It’s December 1st – the “normal” first frost in this area is around October 20th. The zinnias were still in bloom in October, maybe into November. That’s a semi-tropical flower, that has no right to be flowering so late in the year. As a gardener I have seen the seasons change over the last twenty years – not a long time even in human history, but not a mere few years either that can be written off as atypical. When I first moved out to the country, forty miles or so from here and higher in elevation, the frost depth was reputedly down to five feet – that was how deep people had buried water lines in order to be sure of them not freezing. That would be a joke now, it’s probably a while since we had freezing down to three feet anywhere in this region.

Mike Rivero of WhatReallyHappened.com lives in Hawaii –  no wonder he can be a climate change denier.  There are no appreciable effects in such areas.  But people who live in colder climates, who have seen these changes themselves, how can they be in denial.  Regardless of whether we agree on the causes, it’s real, it’s here.  Glacier National Park was named and set aside because it had glaciers.  Now there is only one.  How come ?  Did someone misplace them?

Global warming, climate change, seems obvious to me – and appears to have reasonable, logical causes.  But even if we are unwilling to accept that reason for trying to lessen our use of energy and production of greenhouse gases, there are other good reasons to build Green.  convincing reasons why we have to build much more efficient homes, right now.  Buildings last a long time.  They cannot be easily upgraded, or simply scrapped, turned in for this year’s latest model. 

We in the US are simply not going to have access to cheap energy on the scale we use it now.  Oil is peaking, there will be less of it to go around while other countries are increasing their demand for it.  Politically and economically we will not be able to consume many times more than people in other countries.  Our children and grandchildren will have to adapt to a very different world order,  a different way of  using resources.

My house is a certified Green house, its OK as far as it goes.  The sad thing is that it is still a rarity.   We need to do better.  Much better.

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