Making it Easier to be Green
Green design includes energy conservation, but that's not what it's all about. It's about having good air quality both indoors and outdoors, making the environments in which we work, live, study and play healthier and more comfortable and conserving all of our natural resources.
This site will provide a balanced, holistic view that includes advice about saving energy, water and other natural resources, improving indoor air quality, using environmentally responsible design and construction techniques and minimizing waste.

I will be focusing on interiors for three reasons:

  • We spend about 90% of our time indoors.
  • Buildings in the United States annually consume about 30% of our total energy and 75% of our electricity.
  • As a New York State Certified Interior Designer and a LEED Accredited Professional, I want to share my knowledge and expertise with you.
Sustainable design and construction can be done in many different styles and using a wide variety of materials. There are examples of healthy, sustainable, comfortable and inviting interiors for commercial, not-for-profit and residential clients on the web site for Interior Design Solutions.
You can use the labels on the sidebar to locate entries that you want to read. For instance, most people might want to look at the entries for "Green Homes," but "Green Finance" would be of more interest to professionals involved in the design, construction, management, financing and marketing of buildings.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Saving Money by Saving Energy

The payback period for energy efficiency is getting shorter and shorter, and every parameter that we normally use to calculate it should probably be reevaluated. Typically, we calculate the payback period on energy efficiency as follows:

Payback Period = Cost of Improvement / (Kilowatts Saved * Cost Per Kilowatt)

The way in which this calculation is typically done may not include the following considerations:
  1. Most of our energy is still produced using fossil fuel, and the cost per kilowatt can be expected to escalate steeply.
  2. The total kilowatts saved by an energy efficiency improvement includes not only the watts saved directly by the new equipment, but also those saved by reducing the load on the air conditioning system because wasted watts generate heat.
  3. Reducing the air conditioning load can save money in two ways.  It can definitely reduce the cost of operating the existing equipment by saving energy. And it might also reduce the cooling capacity required in (and the cost of) new equipment.  
  4. When the energy efficient improvement involves replacing equipment that is toward the end of its useful life, we should not use the entire cost of the new system in calculating payback, but only the difference between the cost of the efficient system and a less efficient one.

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