ENERGY: It makes the world go round, yet we usually pay little attention to it. Our electricity and gas (among other energy sources) power our laptops, keep our food fresh, provide warmth and cooling, charge our cell phones, and cook our meals…yet we hardly notice these systems unless they break down we’re faced with an enormous heating or electric bill.
Energy is vital, but it also comes at a cost—both a monetary cost or an environmental one. We’re conscious of that cost at OPTIMA, which is why our homes are designed to significantly reduce energy consumption through smart insulation, use of optimal lighting, premium windows, and numerous other innovative design features.
Want to learn more about the profound effects of energy? Here are 20 energy facts that are absolutely amazing (and a little terrifying!)…
1. Your home can be a greater source of pollution than your car. About 17% of U.S. green house gas emissions are generated from the energy used in houses nationwide.
2. The average U.S. household spends more than $5,500 on energy every year (about 2/5 on electricity and 3/5 on gasoline)
3. There are two basic groups of energy: renewable energy (biomass, geothermal, solar, water, and wind power) and nonrenewable (fossil fuels coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear). Three quarters of the world’s energy is generated by burning fossil fuels.
4. From 2008 to 2030, world energy consumption is expected to increase more than 55%.
5. According to energy expert Elton Sherwin, approximately 30% of energy used in buildings is used inefficiently or unnecessarily.
6. According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling systems use more than half of the energy consumed in American homes.
7. Insulation reduces average home heating and cooling costs by around 20%.
8. For each degree you lower your thermostat in the winter, you can save up to 5% on the heating portion of your energy bill.
9. According to Energy Star, a programmable thermostat could save you up to $150 per year on bills.
10. If just 10% of U.S. households replaced their old heating and cooling equipment with a properly installed Energy Star model, it would prevent 30 billion pounds of greenhouse gases.
11. Households that replace existing equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified products can cut annual energy bills by 30 percent or more than $600 per year.
12. Only 10% of energy in a light bulb is used to create light. 90% of a light bulb’s energy creates heat. CFL bulbs, on the other hand, use about 80% less electricity than conventional bulbs (and last 12x as long!
13. If every U.S. home replaced just one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, it would save enough energy to light about 3 million homes for a year AND save more than $650 million in annual energy costs.
14. In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. The average desktop computer idles at 80 watts, while the average laptop idles at 20 watts. A Sony PlayStation 3 uses about 200 watts and nearly as much when idle. Idle power consumes more electricity than all the solar panels in America combined.
15. 83% of the world’s air pollution comes from the production and use of electricity.
16. Refrigerators in the U.S. consume about the same energy as 25 large power plants produce each year.
17. The most energy-intensive part of the food chain is the kitchen. Much more energy is used to refrigerate and prepare food in the home than is used to produce it in the first place.
18. Inefficient appliances, drafty windows and doors, poor insulation, and other fixable energy wasters cost U.S. consumers an estimated $300 billion a year—more than the U.S. military budget
19. The average home has 2 televisions, a VCR, a DVD player and 3 telephones. If these items were replaced with ENERGY STAR qualified models, it would save more than 25 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 3 million cars off the road for a year.
20. U.S. energy consumption could be cut by 11% by 2020 through simple building efficiency measures such as lighting, water heating, and appliances.
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Samantha Grose is both Associate AIA and Allied ASID. She is the lead designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO. She takes a unique approach to design creating spaces that are casually sophisticated and timeless in design, where you and your family can live comfortably. She has worked extensively throughout the TWIN CITIES area having completed many new homes and large scale whole house remodels.
Samantha received her BS from the University of Minnesota majoring in both ARCHITECTURE and ART. She is deeply committed to a creative approach giving you highly functional spaces with an aesthetic appeal for everyday living.