We are encouraged by the fact that lean economic times offer opportunities for people to beautify and green their existing spaces, helping save money and resources over time along with limiting our impact on the environment. More people are considering environmental impacts as well as economic costs of building and operating their homes, and many people are choosing to transform their existing homes into their green dream home. We are also excited about the sustainable and creative potentials involved in greening and remodeling existing structures and adaptively reusing them. It is often more sustainable to reuse an existing building than to build from scratch.
With less new construction occuring right now, Hubbell & Hubbell is offering their 15 plus years of green building expertise to help you find ways to lower your existing energy consumption and expenses, along with identifying rebates to help pay for these upgrades.
Over the years we have gained special experience in grid-tied and off-grid photovoltaic systems, solar hot water, historic building consulting, Title-24, LEED, passive energy savings. We have a special interest in water conservation. One of the strengths of our firm is developing holistic design solutions to efficiently and most effectively use our limited resources, simplify systems to take advantage of passive techniques, and use common materials in creative ways.
For example, window location and type significantly impact the comfort and energy-efficiency of your home. Locating as many south facing windows as possible in your home will help heat your home during the winter. Providing overhead shading above these south facing windows will reduce heating during the summer. It also helps to use as few west facing windows as possible to prevent your home from overheating in the summer. Selecting the correct glazing for south and west facing windows can also assist in passively heating and cooling your home.
The walls of your home also are crucial in maintaining a comfortable temperature for your home. Heavily insulating your walls is one approach that reduces excess heat from coming in your home during the summer or leaving your home during the winter. We have also designed many homes that use thick walls–like concrete, stone, adobe– which contain a large thermal mass that delays the flow of heat, helping balance inside temperatures during day and night.
Recently, our clients have embraced our suggestions to integrate green, planted roofs into their buildings. Green roofs are another source of thermal mass helping maintain comfortable temperatures inside the building. They also do a great job at providing habitat space, sequestering greenhouse gasses, improving local water quality by reducing and filtering stormwater runoff, and cooling the surrounding community (reducing the Urban Heat Island Effect). Green roofs can also be enjoyable gardens.
Besides hiring a knowledgeable architect to design an energy-efficient building, there are also many incentive programs to help you purchase green products and make energy efficient repairs. Here are some good energy-and-money-saving resources that we recommend:
Southern California Edison – See their energy saving guide full of tips online at www.sce.com/change
Energy Upgrade California – The California Energy Commission has $12.9 million dollars to spend toward energy upgrades in California. Early in 2011 matching funds will be available for residential energy-efficiency upgrades. They have a goal of achieving 10% energy savings. A few areas of emphasis are attic insulation, duct testing & sealing, and insulating hot water piping. For more information go to www.energyupgradecalifornia.com/
SDG&E is providing free a air conditioner tuneup and service. To schedule an appointment call (800)289-2440 or visit www.actimeprogram.com
SDG&E also offers rebates on energy efficient appliances at sdge.com/residential/singleFamilyRebate.shtml