Let’s talk design for a minute. It’s important to remember that potential modifications to your home must be carefully considered before you implement them. If you blindly follow the prescriptions of a well-meaning energy wonk without understanding the experiential implications of his suggestions, you could wind up with a perfectly energy-efficient house that’s perfectly uninspiring. Know this: Sustainable design doesn’t have to suck.1
For starters, replace nearly all2 of your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs).
New to you.
Using preowned furniture in your home capitalizes on embodied energy. It doesn’t need to be a mid-century-modern classic; antemillennial curiosities also have their place.
So you feel dazed and confused after wiping down your new (old) Paul McCobb table? That’s not good. Research nontoxic cleaning materials and use them.
Beware the phantom load.
Off is the new On. Figure out a clever way to plug your small appliances and electronic gear into power strips, and then turn them off when you leave the house each day. Consider the constantly flashing “12:00 a.m.” on your coffeemaker as a badge of honor.