Homes for a Small Planet
Foreword by Peter Yost
In Energy Free, Ann Edminster brings her wisdom and clarity to the issue of net-zero-energy homes. With so much attention being paid to energy savings and reduction of carbon emissions, we need a book like this that helps us sort through the confusing technologies, claims, and economics to create homes that are better for the planet and better for your budget.
—Alex Wilson, Executive Editor, Environmental Building News and BuildingGreen.com
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.