by Colin Healy
Colin Healy Design
My first architecture adventures were in designing and building Solar Greenhouses and Passive Solar Homes. Three decades later, my enthusiasm for eco-friendly design continues. Now, I’m also designing renovations for “aging in place”. At this time in my clients’ lives, they’re thinking ahead to a living on a fixed income. There is a wide spectrum of energy saving moves which can add up to substantial savings. They’re interested in how to save money on energy and live comfortably. Both can be achieved!
How to save money on energy and live comfortably
Energy efficient design is an integral part of my design process. When I explore the budget with my clients, I guide the conversation to ways to save money on energy and live comfortably. We’ll examine the heating system for possible upgrades and often choose a high-efficiency gas furnace that will yield benefits immediately in saving money for the owners and will be attractive to future owners.
Then we consider other parts of the equation: products that conserve energy. Better LED lighting can save up to $75 a year. Energy Star appliances can save as much as $2,000 of energy over the lifetime of the appliance (compared to an appliance that was made before 1995). You can program smart thermostats to lower the temperature when you’re not home … which can save $300-$400 a year; that’s more than the cost of the unit.