A BIG issue in everyone’s lives today is increasing fuel costs. (Don’t be fooled by [temporary] low prices. They’ll be going back up shortly due to limitations in oil production.) High oil prices are connected to peak oil and gas production, wars to secure limited resources and climate change. These problems are all a consequence of our overconsumption and dependence on non-renewable energy. These problems are not going away any time soon. The seriousness and scope of these problems calls for an all-out effort for sustainable solutions, started as soon as possible.
We don’t have to devastate the planet to build, heat and cool our homes and workplaces. Good design can greatly reduce our energy problems. With dozens of simple, well-proven solutions at hand, most of which are totally painless to implement, it makes one wonder why more isn’t being done.
Below is a sampling of simple, workable, low-cost solutions for building more efficient structures. (Do a Google search for more in-depth information.)
Free energy from the sun: passive solar design for daylighting and space heating (use correct building orientation, appropriate amount of glass, window placement, size of roof overhang, etc.); solar hot water; solar wall ovens; photovoltaic panels (consider buying one at a time as finances allow).
Superinsulated homes: highly insulated walls, ceilings, floors and foundations; straw bale or earthbag homes; energy-efficient windows; insulated window coverings; window shades; insulated doors; insulated hot water lines; weathersealing (see www.grisb.org/publications/pub4.doc for one case study).
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