April 5, 2011 by: Ben Heimsath

You will have an energy efficient building or building program in your future. 

Energy Star Building PlaqueI'm not making a wild prediction here.  Not possible?  Think of the efficiencies in cars over the past 10 years.  Who would have predicted that we'd actually have cars that get 20, 30, even 50 miles a gallon?  Would you guess we'd have hybrids and electric cars? Or that gas would go to over $4.00 per gallon?

Our buildings represent nearly half (49%) of all the energy used in the US.  By comparison, transportation uses only 28%.  Americans consume a whopping 77% of electricity to operate our buildings.  Here's some good information from an organization called Architecture 2030.

The White House just released its Blueprint for Energy Security. The fact is, we can only deal with energy security if we improve our buildings - the one's we build new, and the buildings we currently inhabit.  Look for major changes in your house, church, or place of business.

Langford Elementary SkylightsHere's just some of issues we've been following over the past several years.  Many are  already included in what we consider good building practices.  Some may become requirements for all construction.  As more incentives are available, or as costs come down, we strongly encourage you consider these in any building or renovation program.

*Photovoltaic cells for on-site solar energy generation.

*Tankless water heaters.

*Motion detection electrical lighting and circuits.

*Windows or skylights to maximize daylighting.

*Lighting sensors to dim or turn of electrical lights when sunlight is sufficient.

*Programmable AC/Heater controls.  This could be part of a total energy management system.

*Energy Star rated equipment.  These can include kitchen equipment, refrigerators, computers, copiers etc.

*LED lighting, when appropriate.  Or at least the energy efficient fluorescent bulbs and fixtures.

*Double-pane or insulated windows.

*Super insulation with high R values.

*Building commissioning to evaluate and monitor operations.

Of course, the best way to evaluate the potential for these or other building improvements is to consult with an expert.  If we can help with your building needs, contact us or give us a call at 512-478-1621.

Sustainable Design