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Green homes are only as green as their users

June 20, 2016

Green homes are only as green as their users

By Cameron Jewell, The Fifth Estate
Monday 20 June 2016

New research out of Michigan State University has found that more than 50 per cent of potential energy savings from energy efficient homes can be lost if users don’t know how to use the buildings properly.

A study, published in Procedia Engineering, found that incorrect use of airconditioners, thermostats, ventilation and humidity control could have a dramatic effect on predicted energy savings from efficient homes.

“Technological advances in building and equipment account for only 43 per cent of energy consumption,” MSU assistant professor and study author Dong Zhao said. “That means that you could buy the greenest house on the market, yet your personal habits could waste more than 50 per cent of your energy savings.”

Dr Zhao said this was of concern both for individual homeowners as well as for commercial property owners with business and residential tenants.

He and his team of researchers collected data from 320 residential units that met the green building standard of Home Energy Rating Systems.

Preferred temperature settings in summer and winter were surveyed, how often windows were kept open, use of fans and space heaters, humidity settings, length of showers, dishwasher and washer and dryer use, and residents’ knowledge of building systems.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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