[thechat] Energy Conservation (Was: Your dream house: what tech stuff?)

Luther, Ron Ron.Luther at hp.com
Thu Oct 26 11:19:49 CDT 2006

Hi Hershel,

>>To clarify, such 'on-demand' water heaters are available worldwide on
both electricity or gas. 

Yup.  I knew that.  Heck, I even saw one on an episode of "This Old
House".  ;-)  

But the only ones I have seen 'in person' were in specialized
applications like the beast of an RV Elfur's brother bought or marine
applications on bigger boats than mine.

>>Anyhow, these on-demand systems are FAR more energy efficient than a

Yup.  Knew that too.

However, I also know that these fancy boogers are *not* "the norm" for
new or old housing here in the US of A.

Maybe I was a bit too concise in my guess at answering the question "Why
aren't these the norm in the US?"

My guess is (still) that the reason these are not more common in the US
is because our fuel costs are so much lower than other parts of the
world.  These fancy water heaters are, over here, about three times the
purchase price of the inefficient tank style water heaters. (Roughly
$1200 versus roughly $400.)  If these fancy boogers save me $4 a month,
that's ... uh, 200 months, ... carry the two  ... that's over 16 years
to reach breakeven!   The fuel costs have to be pretty significant in
order to make up that price difference through operating costs in a
reasonable amount of time.  My guess is that's not the case in the US
and that's why we don't see too many of these fancy water heater things
over here except in 'boutique' applications.

>>Regarding "building green", a friend of mine shared this with me:

Cool link!  Neat stuff!

*MY* experience ... (caps to indicate that this is certainly _not_ an
area where I have read or researched extensively [I'm not an expert and
I don't play one on TV either!]) ... this is just my personal experience
and observations.   My experience is that in the US, while a hell of a
lot of these products are available, very very few are actually used to
any appreciable extent.  I don't think many of these technologies would
be considered "mainstream" over here.   

Solar window screens?  Yup, mainstream in Houston -- but probably
non-existent in Minneapolis.  Solar roof thingies?  Might be mainstream
in Sedona -- but have you seen the price of housing in Sedona?  Yikes!
For 'normal' housing, nope, I don't think they are mainstream anywhere
in the US. I don't think there is any city in the US (or California
even) where an entry level 'starter' house makes extensive use of any of
these 'green' technologies.  In the US these are mostly toys for the
affluent - not mainstream applications.

Those permalight light bulbs were pretty cool ... But I have 4 recessed
light cans in my kitchen.  For the price of four of these (at $65-$75 a
pop) fancy lightbulbs I can afford to operate and replace a hell of a
lot of incandescent bulbs.  [Dude!  I'm having trouble selling my wife
on the $4 squiggle bulbs to improve efficiency.  A $70 light bulb?
<shakes head /> Man, I'm not *even* gonna tell her about that.  No sale.

>>AS far as phone-rigged door intercoms, those are available today.

Cool!  Glad you found those - didn't see anyone reply when you asked
earlier. (I haven't seen them ... but I haven't been looking for them
either.  Maybe the crappy whole house intercom/radio thingies that were
overinstalled over here in the past have left folks other than me with a
bad taste in their mouths and hurt the market for these.)

Peace out,


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