Energy-efficient houses sound complicated, expensive, modern, extravagant and filled with green technology. Most people view energy efficient houses as contemporary transparent glass houses with solar panels on the roofs and designs to maximize natural resources. In fact, these houses, in the green prairie or suburbans, are energy efficient. But, they are not the only way to turn a house into an energy efficient house. The spirit of Energy Efficiency can be expressed in one word; Negawatt. A Negawatt is a watt that is not spent. A watt that is not spent is money in the bank. A watt not spent is trees, rivers, Carbon and Oxygen where they belong.

Energy Efficiency is not about spending money, which spends energy, but about saving money and saving energy. The mathematics behind it is really simple.

Domestic Energy Efficiency: Saving Energy
House heating and house cooling are the largest expense in domestic use of energy. To keep a house warm in the winter or cold in the summer, there are certain things that can be done.

Energy conservation is reducing the amount of energy used by increasing the efficiency of the energy used. For energy saving, wastage of energy must be avoided.

So what does this really mean? It sounds very complicated. It is not. For example, if you heat your house with a gas system, the heat which warms the house is lost through the windows, the doors, the roof, and floors. As heat is lost, more and more heat is needed to keep the temperature at the same level. So reducing “wastage”, is simply keeping the heat inside. To do this you have to put in layers of isolation materials on the roof, windows, and floors. It can be done with things you already have. Such as shutter, carpets, rugs, plexiglass and thick curtains. It can be done with good taste to keep aesthetic and interior designs in mind. When summer comes along, rugs, carpets, shutter or thick curtains can be removed.

Using this method will save you significant amounts of money every month when the gas bill slides under the door.

Permanent layers are made of different materials. Installing them will not be free. These include: polystyrene, mineral wool, shredded paper and wool. Adding extra layers of insulation reduces the rate of heat loss, but each extra layer will save less energy than the previous layers.

For Windows or Ventilations
Use drought-proofing rubber or foam strips to reduce the loss of temperature. Remember, ventilation provides fresh air and prevents condensations.

In Summer, apply the inverse techniques if you are cooling your house with natural means. If you are cooling your house with air conditioners, the “layers of isolation” will work just as well as they did in the winter.

Building or Restoring
If you are building in cold weather areas, have large windows facing the sun, and small windows facing the shadows. Inverse the idea for areas where weather is warm. Environmental Experts call this; “Passive solar heating”.
Solar energy panels can turn sunshine into electricity. These are silent and work perfectly. There are many ways to use the Energy of the Sun. If you are building or restoring, consult with your architect.

Water Heating
Most hot water storage tanks are insulated to save energy. Reducing the volume of hot water used will also save energy. Shower instead of having a bath. To save water and energy, use low energy appliances, such as washing machine or dish washers.

Low Energy Appliances: Save on Electricity
All brands of energy appliances have now invested in “green” technology. The right choice of domestic appliance can help reduce energy use. Thicker insulation on ovens, refrigerators and freezer reduce electricity use.

Light Bulbs: Save more Electricity
Compact fluorescent lights use less electricity than tungsten filament bulbs. White LED light use even less. Keep lights off when they are not needed. Get the light bulbs which save the most electricity. Efficient Light Bulbs have a nicer shine. They also last much longer. Keep electronics, which are not in use, off, not in stand-by mode.

The Energy Saving Trust has a very convincing online tool that will help you understand the amount of energy and money you are saving. You can find it at They also have a lot of information on this issue. You can also check out sites such or many others.

Remember: Energy Efficiency is about saving, not spending. Energy Efficiency is about using Energy in the most efficient way.