Energy Diet

Our Dream House

Our house with both cars

As I said in our second post, the largest part of our energy consumption comes from two energy consumers: both cars and our house. I will talk about our wishes and desires for how to improve our energy footprint for our house and what our dreams are for a new solar passive house.

First something about how to build our dream, a new house with an almost zero energy footprint. All of us can expect that the prices for energy and the costs for living in houses as well as for driving will significantly rise. This means we have to start thinking how to improve energy efficiency, and if someone is building a new house, it is possible to do it with reasonable additional spending.

In the last few years, the technology for houses with extremely low energy consumption has become available and in Slovenia, some passive houses have been built. It is possible to build this kind of house from a wooden structure or a classical brick structure. If our dream becomes reality, the house will be a prefabricated wooden house. The main three reasons for this decision are shorter building time, lower lifecycle costs, and also a lower energy and CO2 footprint for production.

Passive houses need less than 15 kilowatt hours per square meter (this means 1.5 cubic meters of gas per square meter) for heating, and in summer they do not need cooling. These kinds of houses have to have thick insulation (+30 centimeters, or 11.8 inches), windows with triple glazing (0.8 watts per square meter per kelvin), ventilation heat recovery higher than 85 percent, and the house must have efficient air tightness, etc.

A game of chess next to the radiator, which needs an upgrade.

All these measures insure such low energy consumption that a classical heating system is not needed anymore. Instead, we could use solar collectors or a heating pump. In Slovenia, it is also possible to get grants from a state eco-fund up to $35,000 for these kind of investments. But these are just dreams…

Let’s go to reality. Our roof windows are quite old with high thermal conductivity, and we will have to replace them with new ones with triple glazing (1.0 W/m2K). Also in the near future, we will have to change the ordinary radiator valves with thermostatic and thus optimize the temperature in every single room. Those are our plans for the near future.

The main thing that has happened to our family in these weeks of writing for this blog is a redefinition of our values and a higher ecological awareness.