New buildings are constructed every day. Shouldn’t they be made as efficient as possible? Practical indeed, but where to begin? The answer is, “during the initial planning.” The design phase is critical for minimizing future energy costs. There are long-forgotten as well as cutting-edge methods for creating high efficiency. Energy efficiency need not cost more up front, and it need not sacrifice comfort. The key is to put more time and thought into planning and design.
My earlier knowledge about energy efficiency came from building a straw-bale home and living off-grid. Most recently, I have been working with E3 Coalition, which does energy efficiency consulting and design. My work has been to coordinate ten local energy independence planning municipalities to create a regional plan to reach 25% renewable energy by 2025.
We learned early in our planning process that efficiency comes first. One of our communities, Gays Mills, is putting this concept into practice in their new buildings. Relocating their village after two devastating floods, they have designed their buildings to be 30 to 50% more efficient than typical buildings of the same size. Thursday, October 27, 2011, they will host a free tour for the public to learn about both the energy efficiency and geothermal features of their buildings. A free lunch will follow the tour and discussion of the project.
Those who wish to attend should RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 608-637-2499.