Cool Energy House Demonstrates Green Remodeling Strategies

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Cool Energy House is a model in home energy efficiency.
By Alison Rogers
December 2011/January 2012
Add to My MSN

High-efficiency heating and cooling features, sealed duct work, added insulation, renewable energy features and more can increase the value of your home while decreasing the drain on your pocketbook.

Content Tools

Related Content

Staying Cool This Summer, Naturally: Ceiling Fans to the Rescue

Ceiling fans help cool people naturally, and use a lot less energy than air conditioners. Use them t...

All Kinds of Solar: Understanding the Options

There are many different ways to bring solar power into your home. Here's a quick overview of the di...

Are Some Ceiling Fans More Effective Than Others?

Here's how ceiling fans work, and how you can use them most efficiently.

Career Opportunities in Renewable Energy: Becoming an Educator

Renewable energy expert Dan Chiras shares details about The Evergreen Institute's new Renewable Ener...

Rising energy costs and the increasing need for conservation have generated much interest in energy-efficient home retrofits. In response, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America program has developed the Cool Energy House, a remodeled show house that demonstrates the myriad ways in which an existing home can become more efficient.

Located in Windermere, Fla., the Cool Energy House features a host of efficiency upgrades and will be part of the 2012 International Builders Show (Feb. 8 through 11). If you can’t make it, don’t fret: After the show, you can take a virtual tour of the home at Retrofit Alliance.

The accompanying graphic illustrates some of the most common upgrades performed in a green remodel (but certainly not all of them!).

Post a comment below.


Noaccess Private
12/5/2011 10:50:46 PM
Good article but the graphic at least is outdated by several years. For one, it shows having your AC in your attic, which is the worst, most energy hogging place to put it. Second, it says to replace your windows, which has been proved to be a bad idea unless you're replacing the old aluminum-framed post-war single pane type. Historic windows found on homes around the turn of the century with their heavy wood frames are actually more energy efficient than even replacements if left alone, their weight pockets are insulated, and proper, modern storm windows installed. For as much as it costs to replace those historic windows, you can get top-notch storm windows with double and triple glazing, dual screens, impact resistant film, and low-E for what it would cost you for basic no-frills replacements that don't match the historic era of the home. Furthermore, windows from Pella and Marvin have recently been severely downgraded in efficiency due to poor construction and no insulating and sealing value. You may have well saved your money and kept your old windows instead. Third but not a problem: if you're restoring or retrofitting a home that doesn't have central HVAC with ducts, don't put ductwork and your average central in. It's far better to go with modern ductless systems, radiant floor, baseboard, or at least microducts. Often in older homes, the only place to run standard ductwork is through the attic or the crawlspace, both of which are horrible places to install it because of the heat buildup, risk of blowing vermiculite, water infiltration, or stopping valuable airflow under your home which leads to mold, odor, and pests. If you own a historic-era home, take advantage of the passive cooling and heating systems it already has in place such as those wonderful double-hung windows, transoms, and thick lime plaster walls that act as thermal mass and sanitize the air. Work with your "recycled" house and it will take care of you in return. Source: 35 years of restoration and remodeling using green technology and monitoring previous and present restorations to see what worked and what didn't, and staying on touch with current info from research labs as opposed to the sluggish and lobby-influenced EPA.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.