Posts Tagged ‘Thousand Home Challenge’

Secretary Chu touts efficiency at solar event

October 13, 2009

Although he was at the solar decathalon in part to promote solar technology, Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu also made a point about making buildings–including homes–more energy efficient.  According to CNET,  

[Secretary Chu] said that in nearly all the many homes he has lived in, making the houses more energy efficient “became a little hobby of mine.” Chu and his wife used to ask to see the energy bills of the previous homeowners and made a game of trying to reduce the bills by 50 percent. Most of the changes are simple and cost hundreds, not thousands of dollars, he said.

“I started doing this long before I knew about climate change. And I have to confess the only reason I was doing that is because I’m fundamentally cheap,” he joked.

Some changes are simple and cheap.  Others more require professional assistance.  But done right, they not only save energy, but make your home more comfortable and safer, too.  How about if DOE signed on to aggressively promote the Thousand Home Challenge to encourage deep energy-efficiency in existing homes to show the country what the possiblities are?


Deep Energy Reductions

November 18, 2008

I wanted to share some preliminary info on an initiative that I’m really excited about.  Although it’s still in the development stage, ACI will soon be kicking off its “Thousand Home Challenge”.   A primary goal of the Challenge is to reduce the total energy consumption—that’s heating, cooling, hot water, and other electricity use—of one thousand North American homes to show the possibilities and encourage millions to follow suit.  How does dropping your total utility bill to $300-400/year sound?  This is certainly doable with existing technology and practices for those who want to pursue what I call deep energy reductions.

In an effort to walk the talk, I plan to sign up to be one of the pilot homes in this project.  I do want to see how far I can push things in a reasonable and practical way.  Part of it is to see the pure energy savings, knowing that this helps the local economy and the environment.  But part of it is because I like to be comfortable in my home.  I also want to know that the indoor air quality is good, the house is performing well and that I can expect to avoid many of the maintenance and durability issues that affect homes that are optimized to perform well.

This lines up nicely with what GreenHomes does right now with our comprehensive approach to improving homes.  We routinely save our customers 25-40% on their energy bills.  Most of our customers don’t go as deep as the Thousand Home Challenge would encourage, though.  Part of that, I think, is because people don’t know what the full potential is.  The Challenge will provide 1,000 examples of what can be done, and we can get them there for any homeowner who is interested.

Think about this.  20 years ago, people weren’t asking for—or insisting on—cell phones.  They didn’t have a full appreciation for the technology and the possibilities beyond their landlines.  But now that they’ve seen how handy mobile phones can be, their prevalence has skyrocketed.  One people see how comfortable they can be in their homes and how insulated from the wildly fluctuating energy prices (which will ramp back up as soon as the economy starts moving again), I’m sure they’ll take the plunge, too.  I’ll provide updates once the Challenge kicks off—and I’ll let you know how it goes with my own home.


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