I've mentioned Paul Scheckel's excellent book Home Energy Diet in two of our previous posts: Sustainable Inspirational Books and Energy savings tips for Beginners. Well, it looks like I'll be mentioning him a lot more now that he has managed to top his previous effort with his new book titled The Homeowner's Energy Handbook.
Paul sent me down a copy because I was a small contributor to the book :) (You can see the piece I wrote for the book below, also on page 190-191 of the book)
I've only just started reading it, but the book is incredibly thorough and the illustrations are custom made for the book. The whole time I've been reading it I've been wondering how long the illustrations must have taken because they are very, very good. The book is basically a much more detailed, organized and in-depth look of things we have covered on Mapawatt (even though we have over 500 posts). Paul covers everything from how to build your own bicycle generator, doing your own home energy audit and home energy monitoring, planning a solar pv installation and other renewable energy systems, heating your home with an outdoor wood furnace, and even how to make your own biodiesel!
Throughout the text, Paul provides many reasons why trying to live more sustainably improves your life and makes you and all those around you happier. On page 11, he has 25 "value propositions" on why improving your energy situation is a good idea. An example of a great tidbit that I'll have to remember when I finally get around to building my green dream home can by found on page 22:
One of the best things you can make available to your renewable energy installer is a chase (grove) between the roof and the basement that allows easy access and plenty of space for running wires, plumbing, or even a chimney without having to cut into walls.
If you're doing roof work, installing supports for future solare collectors will save time and money down the road when you're ready to put up your new panels.
On page 25, Paul writes about the Value of Electricity and explains it in comparison to how much power (or how many Watts) a human can generate on a bicycle, much like Mapawatt has done with our very popular post Bicycle Power - How many watts can you produce and Understanding the Scale of Electric Power Generation.
Below is a picture from the piece we wrote for the book. The paragraph that best summarizes the piece:
"One thing I've realized in (commercial and industrial energy efficiency project) sales is that people buy things that reduce their pain or offer a direct gain. If the purchasing agent or maintenance person isn't graded or doesn't receive some sort of incentive related to how much energy they save, they don't have any pain around energy costs and don't have any desire to save it. If energy is cheap, then costs haven't risen to the point where it causes management any pain All companies love talking points on the environment or sustainability, but the majority of companies aren't going to act on operating more sustainably unless it solves a specific pain (such as with reduced operating costs) or increases gain ( such as with more sales to environmentally consious consumers)."
I closed the piece relating the above to the homeowner (you and me) The penultimate paragraph:
"Living more efficiently and sustainably isn't a quick-and-easy, one-time deal or a gimmicky marketing campaign; it's a way of life. It's a way of operating, both personally and in business, that reduces the negative impacts of waste on our society. I try to live sustainably because it reduces the pain I feel when I see, smell, or feel pollution in my lungs, or I realize I'll have less money this month due to a high energy bill. Most importantly, living sustainably means living with less pain, which coincidentally provides the ultimate gain of living happier"
The Homeowner's Energy Handbook is a must for those who want to live off grid or simply want to use less energy or live more sustainably. It will reduce any pain you may have around high energy costs or your dependency on your utility and it will increase your happiness when you realize how you are able to provide for you and your family while also improving the living conditions of you, your family, and the rest of the planet. Mapawatt highly recommends it!!!