How To Stay Efficiently Cool This Summer

Summertime is almost here, but hot weather doesn’t have to mean skyrocketing power bills and nonstop air conditioning. We’ve compiled these tips to help you maximize your summer comfort and energy efficiency.

MetaEfficient Vacation

MetaEfficient is on vacation. This week, I’ve managed to travel around town and to the beach by bike. I’ve also been reading A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander — this 1200-page tome is good to read in a hammock. I would like to optimize this house and this town, based on their principles.

Solar Decathalon Preview

The Solar Decathlon is a competition held every four years in Washington D.C. The next Decathlon will be held in October, and twenty universities from around the world will be vying to build this year’s most efficient solar house. I’ll definitely be there to test the bedsprings and scrutinize the efficiency of the homes. But for those who can’t wait, …

Metaefficient: Trombe Walls

Incorporating a Trombe Wall into a house is one of the most efficient ways to capture the heat of the sun. They work in the mildest to the most severe of climates. Basically, sunlight strikes the wall through a window, and the Trombe Wall heats up, causing warm air to flow into a room.

Efficient Soapstone Stoves by Tulikivi

These soapstone stoves are made by the Finish company Tulikivi. They use radiant heat to warm up your house, which is a highly desirable type of heat because it’s even and non-drying. Radiant heat passes through the air in a room, and warms all of the solid surfaces in the room that it “shines” upon. Tulikivi uses soapstone to build …

Ultraminimalist Electricity

By using ultraminimalist electrical configurations, you can lighten your housing arrangements and make them more portable too. Ultraminimalist lighting is straightforward. The most efficient way of lighting a house is to use lamps with compact fluorescent bulbs inside. For example, a 27W compact fluorescent is equivalent to a 100W incandescent bulb. Use LED lights for task lighting and spot lighting. …

ecoMOD

ecoMOD is a student design project at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. The aim is to design a house that is both affordable and eco-efficient. The first design they came up with is modular with an emphasis placed on melding indoor and outdoor space through passive design strategies. Via: Inhabitat

Electrical Timers

Electrical timers are humble devices, but they might give you that energy-saving edge you’re after! In fact, they are one the simplest upgrades you can make to your house. The Intermatic timer pictured here plugs into any electrical socket and switches that device on or off at the times you set. It costs only $11, and will allow you to …

LED Ceiling Lights

Glen Hunter has created lighting fixtures using 1 watt LEDs and acrylic rods. He originally designed the lights to use in his off-grid house. This kind of lighting design is really pushing the efficiency envelope. They are now available from Eurolite. More information: GlenHunter.Ca