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Does energy factor in to where you want to live?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I was talking to my father over Thanksgiving about his energy costs. Apparently in New Jersey where he lives people can get heat three ways, oil, propane, or electricity. These are the most expensive ways to heat a home. Where I live in NYC we have natural gas, which is clean, and right now thanks to shale gas (I know, I know) cheap. We also have steam in some big buildings, which is expensive from what I hear, and we actually have a new ban on #4 and #6 oil, the dirtiest.

So I was thinking about my father's taxes ~$15,000 a year plus these astronomical costs to heat the joint. Do people consider these things? Personally my heating bill is an insignificant cost, where my father pays thousands during the winter months. Seems crazy. So, does energy matter to you?
post #2 of 28
Electricity costs are just as big of a deal where summers are hot. Both NY and NJ electricity prices are horrible.
post #3 of 28
We pay a shit load as well here in NW Indiana. Nipsco rapes you. Thing is, it's not like you have a choice. Everybody up here uses natural gas in their boilers.
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Well, right, but electricity you can't control because you use it in the summer regardless of where you are and the difference in cooling a home in Westchester is a similar cost to cooling a home in Bergen County, NJ. The difference between natural gas and oil is astronomical.
post #5 of 28
i live in NJ and use natty gas. I also work on a constant basis to curb energy costs due to heating or electricity cost due to lighting. So I switched all of the lighting to warm LED and have a plan I'm working on to reduce heating costs.

Reflective barrier in the attic.
removing all flex duct except short run and running insulated hard duct.
Wrapping the basement ductwork with insulation to help even out the temp in the house.
Sealing or replacing leaking doors or windows.

I find it sort of amazing that houses aren't built to near passive house standards in america. Does anyone weigh the difference in cost against the money saved and the reduction in emissions?
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Simple things certainly can reduce your cost and thus emissions. People don't give it enough credit, but it works. Did you find LED lighting that doesn't look like the headlights of a BMW? I have only seen some horrible spectrums...
post #7 of 28
Yup, they almost look like a regular bulb.
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Would you share the brand?
post #9 of 28
Unless you obsessively cool your place (someone who keeps it 68 all summer), electric AC is just not going to be that expensive compared to winter heat from expensive sources. Obviously I am only talking about cold places here...in texas, cooling is going to cost more than heating.

I don't have central AC and I have baseboard electric heat (which is probably the worst heat you can have around here) The cost to heat the apartment to a comfortable temperature is significantly higher than the cost to cool it. For heat, we are talking about 6000-7500 watts of heating cycling on fairly often to keep the place warm. To cool it, my undersized AC sips something like 5-600 watts, and on many days I don't need to run it or I can shut it off at night or while I am at work without having a huge temp swing (the heat has to stay on at least partially even when I am not home or it will take forever to warm back up). Even if I got a second unit or a bigger one, it is still a fraction of the power use of the winter heat.

Natural gas heat would be cheaper, especially at current prices. Only problem is a lot of apartments that were retrofitted from radiators have noise-making furnaces in awkward locations so something besides forced-air is preferred (not a problem in houses or well designed apartments. Most places that use steam radiators around here have free heat. I would imagine the boiler is natural gas, but the utility bills are just factored into your rent. Unfortunately these places tend to have zero control--your place is always too hot or too cold.
post #10 of 28
The ones I have for all of my lamps are Philips and they look like regular bulbs. I use them for ambient lighting so i bought something like 5 watt and they put off a good amount of light.

I have the 'BMW' style currently for my floor lamps, but i'm considering these Philips:
Philips 420554 13-Watt BR30 LED Indoor Flood Light Bulb, Dimmable
Edited by SkinnyGoomba - 11/30/12 at 2:07pm
post #11 of 28
I'd say there's really only a few places along the California coast that wouldn't require heating or cooling at all, otherwise it's an unavoidable cost.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

I find it sort of amazing that houses aren't built to near passive house standards in america. Does anyone weigh the difference in cost against the money saved and the reduction in emissions?

My mother had a new house build last year. Building standards required it to be nearly energy passive in the Netherlands. Using a heat pump and pipes going down some 30 meters she has no need for a nat. gas connection and only uses a bit of electricity. Which mainly goes to the induction cooker and floor heating. In winter additional heat is provided by a wood burning stove. Her first electricity bill is coming in this month, so we are quite interested to see what it amounts to.

She is also planning to install solar collectors, which should put the house into energy positive territory. Like she said, after 50 years its going to be fun to receive money from the elec. company for a change!
post #13 of 28
Amazing, this should be a requirement in the US in my opinion. It will certainly be a priority for me if I have the opportunity to build a home.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

Amazing, this should be a requirement in the US in my opinion. It will certainly be a priority for me if I have the opportunity to build a home.

Yes, impose more government regulations on our freedomz. wink.gif
post #15 of 28
Right, because currently there are no regulations on how to construct a home in the US.
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