Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency

The wholesale price of propane increased at 3.8% per year from 1990 – 1999. That is the lowest annual increase we are likely to see given:

  • propane is tied to the price of petroleum and natural gas
  • petroleum prices have increased and are likely to be unstable, and storage facilities for petroleum, and especially propane are limited


Natural gas prices have increased sharply in the 1st part of this millennium because:

  • natural gas is difficult and expensive to transport, especially overseas
  • the United States has over invested in natural gas as a fuel for power generation.

The embodied energy (that is the energy used to make the building) can equal 5- 20 years of the energy consumption of a building. That one reason is why we prefer to use fly ash. It is a waste product that replaces part of the Portland cement in concrete. Portland cement production requires strip mining limestone, crushing the limestone, and enormous amounts of energy to convert the limestone to cement. Fossil fumes are consumed and carbon dioxide is produced both by fuel combustion and limestone conversion.

Buildings are a major source of the pollution that causes urban air quality problems, and the pollutants that contribute to climate change. They account for 49 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions, 25 percent of nitrous oxide emissions, and 10 percent of particulate emissions, all of which damage urban air quality. Buildings produce 35 percent of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions the chief pollutant blamed for climate change.

There are many opportunities to make buildings cleaner. As just one example, if only 10 percent of homes in the U.S. used solar water-heating systems, we would avoid 8.4 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year.

Sun & Earth Inc. uses quality materials with low embodied energy, while caring about the environment around us and building cost efficient home.

Reasons for Choosing Energy-Efficient Design

  • Tangibles
    • Economics – the short term returns to building owner
      • immediate reduction in utility bills
      • decreased household maintenance, especially cleaning
      • increased appraisal without increase in property tax assessment
      • qualification for energy efficient mortgage programs
    • Economics – long term returns to building owner
      • energy costs increase more rapidly than inflation, so energy efficient upgrades increase their cost effectiveness. They appreciate more rapidly than other building amenities, which may even depreciate
      • energy efficient upgrades will be saving money at the same time they are appreciating. Similar to rental property except that they are a passive investment.
  • Intangibles
    • Human rights and political self determination
    • Sustaining the environment

“We are very pleased. The house has exceeded our expectations in terms of aesthetics, quality, and energy efficiency.”