40% of our national greenhouse gas emissions come from using energy in our buildings, including our homes. About 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the energy requirements for U.S. buildings. To the extent we can enjoy a comfortable “built environment” while using less energy, we can save money as well as reduce a significant input to a warming atmosphere. A cold winter is approaching, and this is a good opportunity to actually do something about it! The monthly “First Thursday” Care for Creation meeting on December 2nd at 7 pm in Flaherty Hall will feature presentations on how you can measure your own home’s performance perhaps obtaining a HERS rating from a professional energy efficiency engineer to guide you in cost-effective steps to improve that performance. “The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. It’s also the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance.”
We will look at lighting options, heating and air conditioning alternatives, windows, insulation and leak sealing, and compare these opportunities to improve energy efficiency. You will understand why new homes are typically 30% more energy efficient than existing homes. Indeed, zero net energy homes are being built across the US, including in areas like Minnesota with temperature extremes greater than Northern Virginia. These are homes that effectively generate more energy than they require to make their interiors comfortable and well lit on a year round basis. Building a new zero net energy home may not be an option for you, but improving your existing home almost certainly is an option. Come learn about it.