Friday, September 12, 2008

Saving Money on Energy: An Opportunity??

Many families are looking for opportunities to save money on energy, and at the same time help “save the environment.” Because of the dramatic increase in the price of gasoline, much attention has been focused on reducing transportation costs. However, some people spend more to heat and cool their homes than on gasoline. I spend about 50% more. Therefore, reducing those costs is more important to me. In this regard, I am wondering about two things.

Why Am I Cooling The Whole House?

When I’m awake in the middle of another intolerable Houston summer night and the a/c kicks on, I often ask myself, why am I cooling the whole house? There is nobody in the living room, or dining room, or kitchen, or guest bedroom, or my office, or…. At least I hope not. Why am I keeping those rooms so comfortable? I’m old enough to remember when there was no central heating and air conditioning. You heated, or cooled, only the occupied rooms – if you were lucky. That seems like a much more efficient approach. Or, maybe we could have central air, but with more effective ways to selectively heat or cool individual rooms. (Maybe what I really need is an air-conditioned suit!)

Why Is The Air Intake Near The Floor?

Hot air rises. If the air intake is near the floor, you’re sucking in the coldest air in the house. Is that a good idea in the summer? Would it make sense to have switchable returns? In the summer, they would bring in hot air from close to the ceiling; in the winter, they would bring in colder air from near the floor.


Obviously, we need to continue to pursue renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar. However, it would also be helpful if we could find more ways to be more energy efficient regardless of the source. Since heating and air conditioning energy usage is significant for most families, there is an opportunity there. Does anyone know whether these ideas could be implemented cost-effectively, and, if so, how much money could be saved? Any additional ideas?

Related articles:
The Power of Attentive Spending, Scott Burns

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