Damien Casten, a wine distributor who lives in Bucktown, spent 19 months renovating his house with recycled materials.
Casten made most of his furniture himself using recycled building materials that would otherwise be discarded in landfills.
The affordable net zero home built by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Habitat for Humanity ended up generating more energy than it uses, going beyond even the net zero standard.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The price of installing residential and commercial solar panels will fall in the future, according to data from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
U.S. Department of Energy
Your water heater probably uses the most energy of any appliance in the home.
Save energy immediately without remodeling your house Not everyone can spend years remodeling their houses, but you can still save energy and drop your utility bill now:
• Air dry clothes and dishes instead of using dryers or dishwashers
• Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible
• In the winter, open the shades on your south-facing windows to let heat in, and close them at night to keep the chill out. During the summer, close the shades to keep the light and heat out.
• Plug in appliances to a power strip, and turn off the power strip when you’re not using those devices. That small green or red light still uses energy.
• Program your thermostat at as low as possible temperatures in the winter, and as high as possible in the summer.
• Buy a low flow showerhead. You can adjust it so you barely feel the difference, and you’ll save water in the long run.
• Get dimmers for lights. They give you the flexibility to lower the lights.
• Insulate hot water pipes and ducts if they run through unheated areas. You can actually lose energy from heat lost to the environment.
• Use the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Saver or other tools to inventory how much energy each part of your home is using. That way, you can figure out where you can save the most.