Common Sense or Ideology

Common Sense or Ideology

Recently, Renewable Energy World announced: 

“Efficiency Startup Gets Funding to Cut Energy Use by Buildings”

The startup reportedly attracted investors including, “Tom Steyer’s, Radicle Impact Partners; former General Motors Co. Vice Chairman, Steve Girsky; and Tesla Inc. Chief Technology Officer, Jeffrey B Straubel”.

Every new business needs encouragement, however, some businesses may not offer a sound economic value proposition to its customers.

This startup may be such a case because most people can accomplish the energy reductions without outside help.

Here are the steps that any store, business, school or homeowner can take to lower their electricity bill and improve energy efficiency.

It’s not necessary to pay anyone for this information.

  1. Replace incandescent bulbs with LED lamps
  2. Install an intelligent thermostat to control heating and air-conditioning so as to use HVAC most efficiently
  3. Be certain there is the proper thickness of attic insulation to achieve desired R rating
  4. Use an infrared camera to identify where heat may be leaking around windows or poorly insulated areas
  5. Replace worn out appliances with energy efficient appliances
  6. Replace existing windows with Low-E windows

There may also be many small actions that can be taken to improve energy efficiency.

For example: 

  • Plant a deciduous tree outside a window facing south. Deciduous trees will block heat in the summer, but allow warm-sunlight to enter the building during the winter.
  • Be certain weather stripping around doors and windows is installed properly.

While all of these activities will improve energy efficiency, some may be bad economic choices.

Using LED lamps can achieve remarkable improvements in energy efficiency, but there currently are limitations on using LEDs economically because of their higher cost. 

It doesn’t make economic sense to replace an incandescent bulb, with an LED lamp, used 15 minutes a day that’s located in a closet.

Generally speaking, however, LEDs provide large savings and are the low hanging fruit.

Edison Bulb and Small LED

Replacing all the existing windows in a building with Low-E windows may not recover the investment for 15 or 20 years, and could be a bad economic investment no matter how much energy is saved.

With those caveats in mind, items 1 through 4 make a great deal of sense. A thermal camera can be bought or rented for a few hundred dollars and will provide all the information needed to identify the most serious problems.

While the start-up mentioned by Renewable Energy World will do a more exhaustive evaluation of energy waste, and may not charge a fee other than keeping a portion of the savings, the average homeowner or business or school, can probably achieve nearly all of the potential energy savings by focusing on the tasks mentioned above.

Good economic decisions can be made when common sense rather than when ideology is used for making the decision. 

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2 Replies to “Common Sense or Ideology”

  1. Some commonsense Ideas here.
    After 50 plus years the trees I planted around by house quite work well but the leaves in the fall are a huge problem including cleaning out the gutters!

    • Thanks for the reply. Yes, I used to have to clear the gutters and it was a difficult and dangerous job.