Energy and the Sustainable House

  
We think the point of sustainable housing is to support living without being locked in to a high rate of consumption of resources.  For example, energy is a big concern.  The chart below shows the average energy use of a New Zealander, per person, per day, in kWh. For conversion, 1 kWh of electricity is about $0.25, and there is 10kWh of heat energy in 1 L of petrol.
scaddenNZEnergyUse
This chart shows that for the average person, more energy goes into producing our food than in heating our houses. And consumption of goods (stuff), is the largest energy use.  On average, we each use 3.1 L of petrol per day in our car.  For a sustainable house, we must make reductions in each of these categories.  In the category, Home Energy: we could make the heating efficient with heat pumps, and make energy use low or positive with photovoltaics.  For car travel, pick a site that is bikeable, and make facilities for bicycles in the house. For stuff, pick a decorating style that does not require frequent refreshes. Make the house design flexible so it is not demolished and has a long life.  For food, design for a garden.  For plane travel, pick a frequent holiday destination that is within your country.

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