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Marker Time – Energy Efficiency (Utility Costs)

by Chad Ludeman on September 24, 2008 · 7 comments

in Building Science,Design,envelope,HVAC

Today’s Marker Time is the first in a series of videos that will look at the Energy Efficiency of the 100K House project. The first in this series looks at the utility costs of the 120K House versus that of a similar new construction house built to code and an existing house that is not new. This video is a bit heavy on the numbers and was filmed late in the day when my enthusiasm levels were a bit drained, but hopefully our points come across fairly clearly.

Here is a recap on some of the numbers covered in the video:

  • The 120K House uses half the energy of a standard code built home
  • An existing (non new construction) home uses 2.5 times more energy than the 120K House
  • A code home will cost an extra $1,037/year or $86/mo compared to the 120K House
  • The extra utility cost of the code home raises the actual cost of a $250K purchase price to $263K
  • An existing home will cost an extra $2,034/year or $170/mo compared to the 120K House
  • The extra utility cost of the code home raises the actual cost of a $250K purchase price to $276K
  • If you applied the extra $170/mo to the mortgage on the 120K House that you would be saving in utility costs

If you enjoyed reading this post I can promise you'll love our new writing over at Postgreen Homes. Yeah, we know that's the same thing your favorite band said and their new album is nowhere near as good as their early stuff, but seriously, we are actually still getting better.

There also isn't much conversation to be had here . . . at least not with us. So come on over to the Postgreen Homes Blog and tell us what you think of our new(ish) digs and crazy ideas. We will be sure to tell you what we think of your opinion.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 chad September 25, 2008 at 3:00 pm

We spent so much time on the lighting for this and the auto focus on the camera screwed it all up. Uuhgg.

Does everyone not like the videos or just not like commenting on them?

2 Janis D. September 25, 2008 at 4:17 pm


I have said it in the past and I still stand by it – you guys are doing an amazing job and it is the case even when people do not comment!

I am not sure how others feel about it, but, even though I follow your blog daily (and sometimes more than once), I have not seen any of the videos. I am sure they are great, but at the office I do not have the sound + I cannot spend 3-5 minutes watching a video. I have planned on seeing them at home, but it has not happened yet. I am sure one day I will get to them!

Consequently, I personally prefer regular posts, because they are more convenient for me to perceive. As a suggestion, maybe it is worth putting daily thoughts and updates in a written blog (as before) and then after an entry you can make a link to a separate video-archive page or something, with additional (or the same) information in a video format.

Again, this is only me – maybe everyone else has been watching videos all the time and others are just lazy to comment. I just know that I personally, since the video was introduced, feel that I am missing on information from your blog, because I do not have the chance to view the videos.

Nevertheless, again, thank you for great work and for sharing your experiences!

3 chad September 25, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Excellent comment and insight Janis, thanks! We will take this into consideration in the future. I have been trying to include bulleted lists after the videos for this reason but see your point.

Most of the recent videos are recaps of things we have discussed before with a bit more of a marketing push to help in selling the first homes.

In the future we may setup a more professional video series format to cover more important topics in more detail. The LEED for Homes process is one example I’d like to pick this up on possibly.

Lunch is for surfing the web without guilt. ;)

4 Rob September 25, 2008 at 9:37 pm

I have to agree with Janis, at work videos just are not for me. And when I get home, well I am not sure what happens with my time but it goes. It could also be my lack of attention span, I like to read a little bit and if it does not interest me then I move on. I read most of the posts here, which is saying a lot for your ability to keep my attention. :)

Oh and I have been appreciating the bulleted lists, gives me a quick overview of the video that I am missing.

5 chad September 25, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Better balance between all text posts and video posts. Will do…

6 Kevin D September 26, 2008 at 7:03 am

Energy cost comment:

1. Photovoltaics typically need a subsidy (a la Colorado’s), but of course you need them if you were going for a Zero Energy Cost home. A worthy enough goal for the high end variant of the 100k home.

2. The “Smart Grid” implementation is coming soon nationwide.

How it may affect the 100k house is as follows – instead of buying a $2k high efficiency gas boiler, you would install a $600 120gallon electric water heater.

The smart grid would automatically sell you cheap electricity at night for use in heating any time the next day. This discount makes the heating energy cheaper than gas, with a lower first cost.

You may also save a couple more thousand for the city gas tap.

7 chad September 29, 2008 at 9:22 pm

Very good points, Kevin. We will be evaluating issues like this for future versions of the homes. While budget and utility costs are important, I tend to be a bit more biased towards solutions that are going to reduce overall energy consumption long term. Lowering utility costs is great, but eliminating dependence on fossil fuel energy altogether is much better…

We have envisioned a priority scale for different aspects of the home for future, custom models. If energy efficiency was not a high priority, your suggestions could be the perfect solution to free up budget for design or sustainable materials or whatever else was important to that particular home buyer.

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