Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tips on saving in energy bills for buildings

In today and age buildings consume energy from 35-45% of total energy produced.Fossil fuels resources are running down fast, causing energy prize soaring and access to clean energy has become much more difficult for poor people in developing and underdeveloped countries.

Big chunk of money from everybody's goes for fat utility bills, more than 50% of utility purchased get consumed just for heating and cooling. Free, clean, renewable energy can be harness for heating, cooling water heating and even for cooking and reducing money flow from pockets to a large extend. Solar waterheaters can save about energy 60-85% of energy and solar heating systems pays back in 4-7 years. Other renewable, clean resources like apartment wind mill, earthtubes lately catching attention. Apartment wind mill can be used for electrification and earth tube can be used for partly/fully cooling and heating building space.

In "ZEB" (zero energy building/home) net electricity flow and other fossil fuel supply are ZERO, and virtually no $$$ flow from home for the purchase of the energy. ZEB can be electrified using solar panels system in day time, excess electricity generated(if) can be supplied to power-grid and having meter read "negative" which can be balanced out by electricity consumed in night. Apart from saving using home solar panels in US homeowner can save money in terms of federal and state tax rebate too. In todays and age solar panel installation is is very quick and easy, as this industry is booming with skill technicians and with lots of quality packaged assembly for installation. Apartment wind mill coupled with solar-PV system can be used for uninterrupted supply of electricity most of the time of the year and may be in night too. ZEBs can have solar water/airheaters or earth-tubes for replacing fossil fuel based heating and cooling system.

Door and other openings are window for heat gain in summer and heat loss from building in winter, properly designed and installed energy-efficient, smart, low-e window can prevent 30% heating and cooling energy loss. In summer heat gain be reduced by adopting quick inexpensive tips like use of awning/overhang on south and west facing window, use of tintedfilm, curtain and having trees on west and south facing door/window opening for shading.

Daylight is a controlled admission of natural-sunlight through windows and skylight into a space to reduce or completely eliminate requirement of artificial light. It is estimated 12% of total energy bring in building use up for lighting, according to U.S.G.B. council's sustainable technical manual 50-80% of lighting energy used can be saved by properly planned and designed daylights. North side placed skylight can magnificently illuminate the space for more than 70% time of the day. Darker place of the building like bathroom, where windows can not be placed for daylight and ventilation,, can be enlighten by solar tubes. Use of CFL and LED bulbs in place of incandesce bulbs can save up to 70% of energy and provide quick return on investment.

Other tiny-mini quickie but important tips for energy=money saving are energy starred products, dimmer, efficient fixtures, occupant and motion sensor for kids room and outdoor and possibly green roof.

It has been observed green buildings consume about 40-50% less energy and rely on clean energy renewable energy resources like, solar,wind & geothermal.


  1. The above fact puts you in quandary – why is that we do not practise these common sense solutions? Probably the answer lies in the required capital investment for change. No one will spend the money for these radical changes where the returns do not add up. So governmental interventions are a must, they should start with their own buildings, schools & hospitals. However, developing economies like India has the advantage since they are building the infrastructure afresh. A simple legislation requiring building with A/C to have double glazed windows will go a long way.

    Ajay Oommen

  2. I can't agree with you any more that goverment interventions are must for bringing initial cost down, they need to support companies in solar, wind business so that product cost can be brought down and subsidies/incentives to users also. No common man is going to use any thing which pays back in 10 years or so. But we can implement some energy saving method without spending much. I dream my home to be zero energy,zero carbon, zero waste.


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