What is your favorite eco-friendly product that you own and how do you use it?
Spray foam insulation. I use it in all of the buildings that I develop. It not only has great insulating properties, but it is also a great seal for air leakage. Although more expensive than traditional batt insulation, the cost more than offsets HVAC equipment costs that are reduced by using this product.
Does your house have any design elements that keep your carbon footprint low? If so, what are they?
1. Orientation - north/ south orientation with almost no west facing windows.
2. Spray foam roof with “cool roof” technology elastomeric coating.
3. Hybrid hot water heater (GE Geospring) - very low power consumption with more than ample water supply. Uses 60% less power than traditional water heaters.
4. Solar panels, which supply the rest of the power required to get to Net Zero Energy.
What are two small things you do around the house to live more sustainably?
1. Recycle everything possible.
2. Nest thermostat to manage heating and cooling. I particularly like the “away mode” that sets the thermostat back when it senses that no one is home.
What kind of car do you drive?
Waiting on the Porsche Mission E to come out. I firmly believe that you can have style and sustainability in one, whether it’s a house or a car.
What is your best piece of advice for others who are interested in living a more eco-friendly lifestyle?
Start small and pick your battles. Small changes add up. My previous home was an energy-hog built in the 1970’s. I enjoyed making small incremental changes to my lifestyle and the home and seeing them show up in reduced energy bills. First, I replaced the old asphalt roof with spray foam. That reduced my summer cooling bill by over $100 per month. Next, I replaced the single-pane windows with dual pane, low-E windows and saw another significant drop in my energy bill. When the hot water heater needs to be replaced use a Hybrid Electric Hot Water Heater. Change light bulbs to LED (they are now so cost effective). Shade west facing windows with structures (shade) or landscaping.
Have you made any diet changes that allow you to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle? If so, what changes have you made?
I buy local, organic and grass fed products whenever possible. Note that this is for my desire to live a healthy lifestyle.
What is one lifestyle change you’ve made to reduce your carbon footprint?
See above regarding the changes I made to my home. I also build Net Zero Energy homes and apartments to reduce the carbon footprint for many others.
Who do you think is making a big difference in the renewable energy industry that the public should be keeping an eye on?
I still think that solar is one of the best solutions for renewable energy. However, as the utility companies eliminate net metering, keep an eye on technologies like batteries to store excess power and not send it to the grid. As well as more advanced load controllers that reduce demand at peak times.