In late 2011, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced increases in the minimum efficiency standards of residential furnaces and air conditioners. In the 30 northern states, the minimum efficiency rating of new furnaces was to be raised to 90 percent from its current level of 80 percent, starting May 31st, 2013. In the 20 southern states, the minimum efficiency of air conditioners is set to be raised from 13 SEER to 14 SEER starting January 1st, 2015 (SEER is the estimated BTU’s of cooling provided by each watt-hour of electricity, so a 14 SEER unit will use about 7 percent less energy than a 13 SEER system). These changes were expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 113 to 143 million tons, and to reduce residential energy consumption by one-fifth.
Danielle Stewart has written before about the five benefits of lighting retrofits for commercial or warehouse spaces with lighting that can be more energy efficient. Here, along a similar line of thought, she addresses the old standard T-12 fluorescent lamp.
For those sustainability designers and innovators wanting a net-zero product, take a look at the Chip House, a 2011 entry in the DoE’s Solar Decathlon, placing sixth.
Check out the prefab community blooming online these days! Tiny House Village is trying to connect communities of creative small dwellings. Ideas are abound for these eco communities with Resources For Life’s Small House Society. Tiny House design has a great set of resources all linked here as well. Check out the plethora of architectural…