I suggest you...Read this: The information I bring forward comes directly from the book, Energy and the Environment, by Robert A. Ristinen and Jack J. Kraushaar. I also have gathered information from Utah State University’s Professor Tonya Triplett.
America consumes the most total energy per capita in the world. The ideas presented here will help the government to save energy, thereby saving a lot of money in the long run. The actions that need to take place will not happen unless we act first. If the government acts, it will cause others will follow.
While there are many ways to save energy, I would like to see the government start implementing these two simple heat energy saving steps that are cost effective and easy.
First let’s break down where we lose heat energy in the typical insulated house (can be applied to the buildings we build). We lose 1% through a basement floor, 20% through basement walls, 38% through cracks in walls, windows, and doors, 3% through doors, 16% through windows, 5% through ceilings, and 17% through frame walls (Source: Energy and the Environment).
Item of Information 1
By saving the lost heat mentioned above, we would use less energy heating our buildings, thus burning less coal, thus reducing pollution, and overall saving money and resources. We can do this by simply building our buildings in a smarter way. Constructing buildings with big windows facing towards the south would be an enormous energy saver. “South facing windows act as solar collectors. Sunlight enters the [main working] space, then energy is converted to heat at absorbing surfaces, and the heat is dispersed throughout the space and to the various enclosing surfaces and room contents. The windows can be covered at night with movable insulation to reduce heat loss. A massive masonry floor and back wall serve for heat storage and prevent overheating. An exterior overhang would help to prevent overheating in the summer.” (Source: Energy and the Environment).
Picture obtained from Wikipedia.com
Another thing that can be done to help with cooling in the summer is planting big trees in front of the south windows. This allows the leaves of the trees to provide shade in the summer and when the leaves fall off in the winter, the sun is permitted to shine through. This makes so much sense. It is not done either because people do not know about it or because people are not willing to change. But if we started, it could help a lot in the long run.
Item of Information 2
While much cheaper and easier, another very effective way to save on heating costs is insulation. A thin layer of foam put around the basement area of a building before it is buried with dirt would keep heat in and saves on heating bills. This is very simple, so why is it not a common practice? A contractor is not going to incur an extra cost of doing this unless it is included in the building specifications. The reason it is not routinely included is that people either don’t know to do it, or do not look to how much can be saved by having it done. The small upfront cost will save us a lot in the long run. This is something that can easily be done and needs to be done during construction. The cost and work load of doing such a task after construction would be too high and undesirable.
This next school year, I am starting a club at Utah State University called “OverAll Service.” We are called OverAll Service because we wear Overalls once a week, also because we are serving over a wide spectrum of serviceable activities. Not only do we want to do your everyday service activities of cleaning highways and painting schools, but our main focus will be to inform people about things they don’t know about, such as those discussed above. Things that will help them and everyone. Next year our focus is energy conservation. Our mission is to take the ideas presented above and inform contractors and construction companies of them. After we have done this we will commit them to inform their costumers, leaving it up to the customer to choose to do this and save over time. They cannot do it if they do not know about it.
How does what OverAll Service is doing apply to the government implementing ideas number 1 and 2? As I have been preparing to organize this club I have done some homework. I wanted to see how a contractor would respond to us committing them to informing others about these ideas; I wanted to understand it from their point of view. I took our proposal of to a neighbor who is in the business of contracting. In fact most of his work is done for Hill Air Force Base. His response to me was this, “That is a great idea and it would help a lot. But for me, as a contractor, I would never write something like “basement insulation” into my contract because I have to keep my price low, or they will award it to someone else.”
We have to start! We have to be the ones to write “basement insulation” into any of our contract that are being bid on. We need to build “Direct Gain Passive Solar Method” buildings. If it becomes the standard with us, it will become the standard with them. We live in today for today but we live in the long run forever. Implementation of these simple concepts will cost a little today and save a lot in the long run. I hope these ideas prove helpful.
Matt Seely, 748 SCMG/EN
6009 Wardleigh Rd, BLDG 1209
Hill AFB, UT 84056 Tel: (801) 586-2081, Cell: (801) 695-7686