California-based SolarCity started out with solar and gradually expanded to energy efficiency services. Now, with more than 5,000 efficiency projects completed or underway, the company wants to help the typical U.S. family save some of about $1,900 that’s spent every year on home utility bills. The company just announced a plan to make energy-efficiency improvements more accessible with a new Home Energy Loan.
This is the Far Reach House and Gold Award winner in the 2012 EnergyValue Housing Awards by the NAHB Research Center. The program honors builders and remodelers who incorporate energy efficiency in the design, construction, and marketing of their homes, and this home was built in Olympia, Washington by Scott Homes with some high-performance features to go with a traditional design.
Switch Lighting, maker of innovative liquid-cooling LEDs, recently announced the availability of a 100-watt replacement bulb that will hit commercial channels. The color temperature is 4100 K, which is less warm than a homely incandescent and perfect for areas in need of bright white light. Plus, this bulb uses about 80% less energy than an incandescent, or 20 watts.
I’m sure by now you’ve read some of the political talk circulating the web as a result of a recent article by The Washington Post about the Philips LED bulb that won the L Prize and $10 million. The contest was meant to spur lighting innovation and make LEDs more affordable, but readers noted the bulb’s unrebated MSRP of $50 and basically flipped out.
Even Energy Secretary Chu commented on the price: “Nobody expects to pay $50 for a light bulb and quite candidly, if you’re filling your house with light bulbs like that, they should be part of your will,” according to Andrew Restuccia of The Hill.
One thing I’ve noticed is the fact that home building is changing in a big way. In order to capture what’s going on across the country, I thought it would be interesting to talk with influencers and innovators about things like tiny houses, prefabrication, sustainable design, high performance construction, and home technology. For this first interview, I was able to exchange emails with Sam Hagerman, co-owner of Hammer & Hand and president of the Passive House Alliance US, on the topic of ADUs and Passive Houses.