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Energy and Resource Savings

Within our home in Durham, North Carolina we have adopted several methods to help reduce our consumption of resources, and by consequence reducing our impact on the environment.

Some of the items are very low cost, even free; others took investment of time and/or money.

The areas of this site include pages dedicated to the saving of Electricity, Natural Gas, Gasoline (Petrol), and Water. Many of these savings are related to our Solar Roof. We are also tracking our Carbon Footprint.

To help with navigation each main area of the site is identified with an image, click on the image to read the details. The sections are outlined below, along with a high level summary of the methods we have adopted, with an estimated savings percentage (please consider seasonal impact):

Electricity. Replaced incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFL's), we use an EnergyStar washing machine, we do not use a Clothes Dryer, due to the energy inefficiency, we use Watt Stoppers and we turn off devices when we are not using them. In the summer, we run our ceiling fans to push air downwards with our programmable thermostats set to cool to 80F, in the winter our ceiling fans draw air upwards and we heat to 68F.

Major upgrade: Installation of Photovoltaic (PV) system on 24th May 2007.

Natural Gas. Outside of the heating season we turn off the gas supply to the pilot lights for our room fireplace. We replaced our Natural Gas water heater with a Solar Domestic Hot Water heater (SDHW). In the winter, we run our ceiling fans to pull air upwards and set our programmable thermostats to heat to 68F.

Major upgrade: Installation of SDHW system on 1st March 2007.

NOTE: By consequence of our SDHW installation we removed a Natural Gas fired water heater. Now, if we need supplemental water heating (e.g. on days when the sun does not shine) we heat this water with Electricity. As such, we now have a new Electricity burden we did not have before, and this should be considered when looking at the relative changes in our Electricity and Natural Gas usage.

Gasoline (Petrol). We purchased a Hybrid Car in April 2007. When practical we car pool, we also combine trips and walk or use our bikes when we can.

Major upgrade: Purchase of Hybrid Car on 15th April 2007.

Water. In the later half of 2007 Durham County and indeed most of the state of North Carolina is in serious drought. We already had low flow aerators, but we have now changed our habits to save as much water as possible. When we draw hot water for showers or for washing we save the pre-flow cold water and use that to water plants and flush toilets. We wash our clothes and run the dishwasher ONLY when they are full. We also installed rain barrels to collect rain from our roof and we use this water to irrigate our herb garden.

Major upgrade: Adopted drought water savings on 25th October 2007.

Solar Roof. In late February 2007 we installed a Solar Domestic Hot Water (SDWH) system on our roof, and in May 2007 a 2.3 kw Photovoltaic (PV) system. Our SDHW system heats a water storage tank of 80 gallons capacity, our PV system is grid-tied and has battery backup so that we maintain power in the event of a grid failure.

Major upgrade: Solar Domestic Hot Water on 1st March 2007 and Photovoltaic on 24th May 2007.

Carbon Footprint. By using fossil fuel we contribute CO2 pollution in the atmosphere. By adopting energy and resource saving techniques we are looking to reduce our Carbon Footprint. In considering our net pollution we have excluded our purchase of carbon offsets, we are looking to make our CO2 pollution lower than our pollution in our first 12 months in the home, July 2006 to June 2007.

Major upgrade: Solar Roof, Programmable Thermostats, Hybrid Car, careful use.

Some artwork on this site was obtained from www.clipartheaven.com.
Email: darrell AT nearto.us
Web: http://www.nearto.us/