Designing to Save Money

One of the great advantages of computers over the last few years has been to allow us to make better models of the world. It is by making models of the world that we come to better understand it. Computer modelling has become so advanced that it can now be used as a tool to predict the future. We input the data and we can see how things like climate warming will unfold in the future. It is compelling, if sad viewing.

More mundane, but no less important is the ability of computers to help us design more economical spaces to live in. We can now measure accurately how increased insulation can reduce heat loss in the winter and can stop heat entering a home in the summer. The same for awnings over south facing windows. The cost of materials and labour can like never before be weighed up against potential savings in energy bills to decide whether a course of action is profitable or not.

Computers have consistently shown that using an Energy Star recommended programmable thermostat such as those made by Honeywell, Lux or Hunter can reduce heating and cooling bills by as much as a third in a year. The variables involved are geographic location and the settings used. It is assumed that a person doesn’t have the thermostat turned ’way up high’ in the winter and ’way down low’ in the summer. Reasonable settings combined with accurate programming to match schedules to on and off times can make savings that quickly pay for the programmable thermostat and soon go on to make a profit for the home owner.

In such ways we can design our homes to save money and resources as well as reduce carbon emissions. That makes complete sense to me.