You woke up this morning full of vim and vigor, ready to tackle the world of home energy efficiency. Of course, your first dreamy thoughts were: is this major solar flare going to knockout electricity in the midwest power grid, and then, if Fermilab has found proof of the Higgs Boson, will I be able to fully explain the phenomena of convection and chimney effect to people? After your morning coffee, the reality check sets in.
The first leading edge development is net-zero-energy homes. Intelligent design with super insulation with solar cells. Maybe they turn a profit, and sell back to the grid on sunny days. Since the average home energy bill is $2500 per year, $0 per year is mighty attractive. Many high efficiency builders are active in this area, but net zero doesn't come cheap: a 15% premium per square foot.
New wireless technologies adaptable to home energy efficiency are afoot. GE has a hand in it; wherever power is involved, they're still leading researchers. Brillion technology will receive signals from smart meters and power panels, and monitor and control appliances and thermostats. They could be the big winner here.
And Energy Star is never to be denied. As a coveted seal of approval, it's awarded in a number of areas, including new housing. But those big plasma TVs you may have purchased several years ago chew up big watts, maybe 500. If you leave it in while sleeping, it adds up! That's why Philips 2012 ENERGY STAR Most Efficient Designation LED televisions, some less than 50 watts, will have an immediate energy and environmental impact.
Meanwhile, you may continue to dream about energy efficient improvements linked to the universe at large: collecting more solar energy, discovering new particles and forms of energy, it's your birthright. Mankind was made to dream.