When we began construction of The Roosevelt, we were excited about all the possibilities on designing a “green” building. Very quickly, we learned that the sky is the limit, and it all boils down to budget.
Our “pie in the sky vision” included LEED certification, geothermal heating and cooling, self-dimming windows, and solar. When the price tags showed up, we ate our slice of humble pie and went back to the drawing board to investigate more budget friendly options.
In the country, we have less electricity to tap into, and therefore, needed to be mindful of our power consumption. This spelled LED lighting in our book and a high-efficiency HVAC system. As an example, we have 3 monstrous antler chandeliers with 25 light sockets each. If we used 25 watt incandescent bulbs, we’d be drawing 1,875 watts of power with all 3 chandeliers lit. Instead, we chose to purchase 3 watt LEDs which in total pull about 225 watts of power – over 8 times less! From another perspective, by using all LEDs, we could light 24 additional chandeliers with all that power we saved! That translates into a much friendlier power bill at the end of the month. The initial investment was $10 per LED bulb that will last 26+ years, compared to an incandescent at <$1 per bulb that lasts 2-3 years. For us, it was a no brainer.
We also were mindful of our window and insulation choices. We chose maximum insulation ratings in our walls and under our roof. Energy-efficient windows were an absolute must with an added UV coating and roller shades outfitted on all west-facing windows which not only keeps out excess heat, but also prevents bleaching of our carpet. When you have a room full of guests, room temperature is critical, and we have been thrilled with our ability to maintain a comfortable a temperature even on extreme weather days.
So, what’s next? With solar becoming increasing more affordable (80% reduction in costs over the past 7 years!), we see a solar array in our future. I mean, who wouldn’t like to receive a check from the power company once in awhile! ;-)