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Posts Tagged ‘energy audits’

Green homes in Austin Texas

In Green Living on May 6, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Green Homes in Austin Texas

Green Homes in Austin Texas

The City of Austin recently passed an ordinance relating to energy conservation audit and disclosure requirements in part for residential units. It is long winded and of course there are exceptions and allowable variances, but basically this new ordinance requires a seller to have this energy audit conducted before the sale of the residential property. I am not arguing if there should or shouldn’t be an audit or ratings, or whether they are good or bad. They are here and there will be more rules and regulations concerning energy efficiency in the future. I do agree that we, as a whole population need to improve how we utilize what energy there is available. Not being an expert on energy efficiency by any means there are some questions in my mind that need clarifying. Here are a couple of thoughts running through my head. Is it the amount of energy used or the efficiency of the energy used that is important? For example, there is a family of 4 living in a 2500 sq. ft. that home maximizes all of the energy features that are available today. No expense has been spared. They have an energy audit performed and their home is as efficient as can be at this time. They live their lives as a family of 4 would. Warm in the winter, cool in the summer.

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They are an active family, in and out of the home and not worrying about the lights, temperatures or heating and cooling. They are just living their lives on a daily basis. The cost is approximately $100.00 per month for 100 kilowatts used. Take another family of 4 living in a 2500 sq. ft. home, they can afford a few of the energy saving features that are available but the home is not as efficient as it could be so they pay closer attention to where the thermostat temperature is set. They are a little more attentive to doors opening and closing and turn off lights when not in use. Since the home is not as energy efficient as it could be they try to be more efficient. It would probably pass an energy audit but could use some improvements. Because of their efforts their cost is $100.00 for 100 kilowatts. Lastly, there is a family of 4 living in a 2500 sq. ft. home. This is an older home with very few energy saving features. The home has no central air or central heat; they utilize windows and fans for cooling in the summer and localized heating units for warmth in the colder months. They close off rooms when not in use and they turn off lights when they are not in use. They have used a few of the energy saving methods available. The home has been caulked and insulated to seal off as much air flow as possible. They are not uncomfortable and the cost to improve would not be cost effective. Because of the homes’ lack of HVAC and the families’ efforts their cost is 100.00 for 100 kilowatts. This home would never pass an energy audit. So here again is my question? If all of the homes are using the same amount of energy, does it matter if it is because of the homes energy efficiency or because of the energy saving efforts of the family living in the homes? Part of the reason we are even discussing an energy problem is because we have not been taking the time to be as energy efficient as we want our homes to be. EcoBrokers in Austin can often help people understand what to look for in an energy efficient home.