As someone who works with material and energy inefficiencies, I often hear blame directed more at mechanical and structural systems rather than people. But people play such a direct role in energy consumption that taking mechanical and structural aspects alone into account simply cannot give you an adequate picture of where or what your real issues are.
Two houses built of the same level of efficiency, one kept at 75 degrees and the other at 80 degrees, will have different energy consumption values. While this shouldn’t be of any particular surprise, my point is that a mechanical (HVAC) and structural (Insulation and wall materials, windows) can only take you so far. They’re at most, only half of what the full picture of energy consumption in a home looks like.
We, as people, are finicky. We have habits, some odd, some less subtle, some terribly obvious, that attribute to some level of unnecessary energy consumption in our homes. We keep our thermostats set needlessly high, we leave doors open, we neglect routine maintenance on our homes because we forget or are simply lazy. We need to each evaluate our lives and assess how we’re needlessly attributing to energy consumption. When I look at my energy bill, I need to cope with the fact that the majority of the energy I consumed and cost that goes with that is likely directly due to my own negligence. We need to be smarter and more observant of how we go about our daily business at home and understand how that business can translate into wasted energy.
People are different and each home and individuals lifestyle will play into parts I cannot begin to foresee. Therefore, I would encourage everyone to take a step back and examine what you do around your own home that could contribute to needless energy consumption. In the future, I hope that we as a collective body are pushing mechanical and structural systems to be more efficient rather than using mechanical and structural systems to try and correct our own inefficiencies.