With oil prices rising at a precipitous rate, Americans were suddenly ga-ga over energy efficiency.
The same thing is happening today, only now Americans are encouraged to make their homes efficient in the interest of creating sustainable systems.
“Mostly, it’s about lighting,” said Jim Miller, a recognized expert on such subjects in the region. “People can save a lot of money with newer types of lights such as LEDs and compact fluorescents. There are new incandescent bulbs which meet current requirements, but are only 30 percent efficient. Compact fluorescent bulbs are 82 percent efficient, LEDs are 90 percent.
“Both are coming down in price, and they last years and years longer,” he added. “They also don’t give off near as much heat.”
Miller also pointed out the collection of rainwater and gray water for irrigation purposes. How much you use repurposed water is dependent on how much money you’re willing to spend on filtering.
“At Ranches of Sonterra, they’re using rainwater for drinking, but they need a special filter for that,” Miller said. “Others are using it for cleaning, but not drinking. A number of people in our county are willing to pay whatever it takes to put on a filter for their rainwater.”
It goes beyond just lights and water. Homes using energy efficient appliances can be just as comfortable as what most have become accustomed to. Once they make the upgrades to be an efficient home – better lighting, better insulation and the like – homeowners can then think about making the transition to alternative energy such as wind or solar power.
“You don’t have to do it all at once,” Miller said. “It can be done in pieces, as they become affordable.”