Homes for a Small Planet
Foreword by Peter Yost
Net-zero-energy is the watchword of the day, but little has been published about how to get there. Energy Free is the first cogent guidance document for everyone from the motivated home-owner to the affordable housing developer wanting to build homes that produce as much, or more, energy than they consume each year. Seasoned green building consultant and writer Ann Edminster has produced a clear, articulate, and much-needed resource.
—David Eisenberg, Executive Director, Development Center for Appropriate Technology
Finalist in the 2011 International Book Awards - Green/Alternative Energy/Conservation
Energy Free is designed to equip building professionals and homeowners alike with a toolkit for creating homes that use no more energy than they produce—this means homes that are free from the vagaries of energy-price fluctuations and that help to free society of the high political and environmental costs of fossil fuels.
Individuals and institutions have been working toward "zero-energy" homes for decades. This volume is the first record of those collective efforts, distilling their experience into a practical and comprehensive how-to guide. The author includes resource information and step-by-step guidance on how to make decisions that will yield an energy-free residential project, whether a single-family home or multifamily building, new or existing, in an urban or a rural setting. The unique needs and opportunities of each context are addressed.
The principal topics include:
- Project boundaries (why you have to consider not only your home's behavior, but also your own)
- Prioritizing strategies (e.g., insulation vs. photovoltaics)
- Economics (including payback periods and incentives)
- How to minimize a building's energy needs
- How to minimize your energy needs
- How to power the energy needs that remain
- The critical role of integrated project planning
Energy Free offers a wide array of resource information, including detailed window and insulation comparisons; assessments of the relative contribution of different building elements; and overall performance. It draws on research and empirical data from myriad sources, including the Department of Energy's Building America program; Sacramento Municipal Utility District's House of the Future; Passiv Haus Institute in Europe and the Passive House Institute of the U.S.; Florida Solar Energy Center; Living Building Challenge; Affordable Comfort, Inc.'s, Thousand Home Challenge; and many pioneering individual home projects across North America.