Appropriate energy use is an elusive topic, and there's no better application than LED lights. Electricity should be primarily used for lighting, pumps/motors, and teledata. Other uses are inappropriate.
Hi Len: Thanks for your thoughts. I respectfully disagree with most of your remarks. I've been in this biz for over 30 years... designed and built 3 uber solar/eco/cradle-to-cradle home... My background is energy engineer ( BSEE -lots of BS!, certified energy auditor in 1978) and part-time university teacher in Europe and CSU - Calif) I am a big follower of RMi and Amory Lovins + company.
LED lights: I've had LED lights for over 10 years now... got the first ones in Europe and have yet to have one burn out. You're right - daylighting always comes first... including reflective surfaces to get it in as far as possible.
Appropriate energy: The definition of this is in the eyes of the beholden... I think appropriate is a hierarchy of how many BTU's it takes to extract, transport + distribute the energy vs. the actual useful work the energy does in delivering a useful service for us.
I refuse to buy a propane SunFrost refrigerator... sometimes I think about going up country to haul down snow... but what's the footprint on that? Also, I always think that with all our small stores + supermarkets why the heck are we freezing stuff at home? when we can just 'outsource' it to the local store... or even neighbors... it's not like we live in the pioneering days.
I am thinking about putting a tank next to the outside wall of it down as low as I can go.... run pipes up under the side walk. The warmer fluid would rise in the winter and keep snow/ice off my side walk while cooling the fluid.... and the earth around it to keep the root cellar cooler in the summer.
This sounds tricky, Len. What type of a tank are u thinking about? I like the concept that Dr. John Haitt had in the 70's about using soil's thermal properties with a barrier... check out http://www.norishouse.com/PAHS/UmbrellaHouse.html