A summary with links to some articles that I have been reading on new ideas that can be applied in your home.
At one point, I was doing a number of summary/roundup articles. They are good, and bloggers like them when connecting with others. I moved away from them, because I am not always sure that they help the reader. Since I have been reading more of these roundup posts, I thought that I would try my hand at this form of posting again.
Shea Homes has taken an innovative step to make use of geothermal air conditioning systems in hotter climates. Swimming pools come in and out of fashion with homeowners, but we do find them in many homes. In Arizona, the idea has come where the pool will be used as the aid to cool the house with a geothermal unit. Pools can be 15 to 20 degrees cooler than the exterior air.
I question the setup of this system. Will this cause more pool maintenance? Will the pool water be heated significantly, thus depleting the enjoyment of said pool for the homeowners? Are there concerns for the maintenance of the geothermal unit? I am sure that these concerns have been addressed, but the average homeowner needs to really understand what such a system may mean.
Consumers are willing to pay more for a green home, but they cannot name what features make-up a green home. Solar capability comes to mind, but it is generally the only feature that they can name. Has marketing so effected consumers that they know that going green will save them money, so they flock to it? The FTC has already taken steps to clearly define what is green in advertising, and defining “green” in home building is coming along, but we are still debating what it means to be green. The truly disturbing part of this study to me, is that consumers are not taking the time to find out what is green, but they are willing to pay more if you call something green. By the way, would you like a green home inspection? The price is double my typical price, but I do it in a green manner (joke).
Solar shading ventilation equipment
Being a gardener, I like reading articles about growing techniques, when I came across an ad for a solar shading fabric to cover green houses. With the drought in Texas right now, I thought that such a fabric would be great for my garden. I have been joking that I will put a tent over my house to help cool it. This may seem funny, but the concept is used in desert areas. As I play with the idea, I am starting to seriously consider the idea of this fabric going over the home, a sort of dual roof system.
Unusual story of how hackers could steal your information using your electrical outlet. Possible, but is this a serious threat? Maybe not. The individuals would have to be in the line of sight of the building, which means they could be spotted. In my neighborhood, strangers are being quite scrutinized by the residents.
Wind turbines are becoming an option, and home units can be cheaper to install than solar; however, wind energy in an urban area can be hard to sell to your neighbors. Homeowner Associations (HOA) are fairly strict against green measures, because they are unsightly. They do recognize that this is a growing trend, so many are looking at what balance can be achieved. These arguments are now coming to the attention of city councils. This story shows how this is happening. Interesting to note: you may not obtain much power from a wind turbine. You have to check if your home’s location would make installing this system worthwhile.
GE smart appliances are probably the easiest to find for the average homeowner. I am all for the idea of smart/micro grids as a way to improve our homes. I do have an issue with the concept, which may be a minor concern. Appliances will rely on computer technology, which will be costly to repair, and may have its own energy usage to deal with. In this post, the author suggests his own argument against the smart grid and these appliances.