Older homes frequently aren't very energy efficient because power used to be extremely cheap and building codes varied widely. In mild climates, that tended to happen even more. Our home in Oakland was built in 1948 and was far from energy efficient when we bought it: single-pane windows and doors, some of which didn't close well; original floor furnace; no insulation in the ceiling or walls; drafty fireplace.
Seems like the old incandescent business is on its last legs these days. I’m reading news from GE to mean that they’ve come up with an expensive silver bullet for screw-in home lighting. Due to hit shelves this fall or early 2011, the GE Energy Smart LED replaces 40-watt general service incandescent bulbs with nine watts of consumption, 450 lumens of light, and 25,000 hours of rated life.
Recently, Zerofootprint held a global competition to reward market-disruptive improvements in the design and development of retrofitting and re-skinning technologies. To be eligible for the ZEROprize, projects had to be built with reinforced concrete construction between 1945 and 1990. Also, energy required to power all amenities, cooling, heating, and lighting must be on used on a net zero energy basis. After the jury deliberation, 355 Eleventh in San Francisco was able to take top honors.
Most of the energy monitoring tools on the market right now gather aggregate information about the overall electricity use of a home. But the new eMonitor from PowerHouse Dynamics could change all this with circuit level monitoring. The eMonitor solution combines hardware, software, and service elements to provide home electricity use, electricity cost, and carbon footprint information by the minute. Past and present information is then available online and on the iPhone (starting in about Q2 2010).