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The Home Energy Diet: How to Save Money by Making Your House Energy-Smart (Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series) Paperback – May 1, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

Review

With rising energy costs, homeowners are beginning to examine the energy efficiency of their own homes, asking questions that range from where energy comes from and how much it costs, to how to choose new appliances and what options exist for renewable energy?

The Home Energy Diet answers all these questions and more, while helping readers take control of their personal energy use and costs so they can save money, live more comfortably, and help the environment. Energy auditor Paul Scheckel first explores energy literacy, and then describes how your home uses-and loses-energy you pay for via:

  • Electricity
  • Hot water
  • Heating and air conditioning, and
  • Windows, walls and insulation.

The Home Energy Diet involves readers in learning about their own homes by measuring, metering, investigating, and considering habits related to household energy use, then learning how to quantify energy consumption and cost, and to make informed decisions about cost-effective improvements and upgrades. The book explores the misunderstood concept of efficiency versus cost by comparing fuel costs and equipment choices, including the possibility of using renewable energy for meeting home energy needs. This authoritative guide makes efficiency fun through personal anecdotes and humorous "tales-from-the-basement" energy misadventures.

Since energy efficiency is an investment that offers returns greater than Wall Street, readers can earn several hundred dollars every year just by following the advice in this book. As a bonus, many of the energy-saving strategies described can make for improved indoor air quality and healthier, more comfortable homes.

Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series

(2004-12-01)

About the Author

Paul Scheckel is an energy auditor who has visited over 3,000 homes, educating people about energy efficiency, cost-effective improvements, and indoor air quality. With a passion for energy efficiency, he walks the talk by living in a solar-powered house and driving a car powered by vegetable oil, in his home state of Vermont.
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Product Details

  • Series: Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series (Book 6)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865715300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865715301
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #934,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Scheckel is a "hands-on, off-grid" homesteader, and an experienced energy efficiency and renewable energy professional. A partner in the consulting firm Shelter Analytics (www.shelteranalytics.com), Paul's writing and presentations come from experience gained over 20+ years as an energy auditor, consultant, renewable energy system installer, and electric car converter. He has appeared twice on the acclaimed TV show "Ask This Old House", is a frequent presenter at efficiency and renewable energy conferences, has been a guest on various radio shows, and contributes a monthly energy and environment column for two Vermont newspapers.
He walks the talk, thriving with his family in their Vermont home energized by wind, sun, wood, and vegetable oil.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Erika Mitchell TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is a clearly written guide to saving money on energy around the home while simultaneously achieving greater comfort levels. As summed up in the introduction, Scheckel argues that following his "Triple A" approach to home energy usage will make you healthier, happier and wealthier. This approach involves: Awareness of the ways your home uses and loses energy, Assessment of your home's energy requirements, and Action taken to reduce energy consumption to a minimum. Scheckel, a career energy efficiency auditor, writes from experience. Over the years, he has visited thousands of homes and businesses and learned from observation and interviews how we use and waste our energy. In this book, he explains where energy comes from and how advanced technologies can help us use less of it while creating a more comfortable home environment.

Topics discussed in the book include energy literacy, electricity as a means of transporting energy, electrical appliances, hot water, heating and air conditioning, insulation and windows, and purchasing new appliances. Appendices include forms for calculating total energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and home heat load, as well as a list of household appliances with average energy requirements. You don't need to be an electrical engineer or have a degree in physics to follow the text. Scheckel provides clear examples of energy calculations that anyone with a hand calculator should be able to follow. The only real math prerequisite that would be useful is an ability to read and interpret pie charts, since Scheckel relies on them extensively in his discussions of energy sources and usage.

In the text, Scheckel writes about a fictional family who has called him to do an energy audit.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Peggy VINE VOICE on November 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This author goes into detailed explanations that are easy to understand. I learned MANY reasons why my 1950's brick house was still air leaky after replacing HVAC system, windows, exterior steel doors, roof and adding insulation-the "professional" installers (Temp-A-Tech, Window World, Lowes, roof installer, and the handyman)-simply I bought good products but they were improperly/inadequately installed. Needless to say after paying the rather pricey installation charges, I'm not too happy. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone purchasing a home or having remodeling done. If I had only known about this book before I had the costly replacements done I would have a much better energy efficient home.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A. Siegel on December 8, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Home Energy Diet should be required reading of every home owner in the United States. For a variety of reasons -- aging heating system, concern over potential fuel costs, and other reason's -- started looking into what I could be doing to improve my home's energy efficiency. I bumped into Home Energy Diet in the library ... and started to learn a lot and much of that learning has direct relevance to my own home. For example, Scheckel's material and explanations highlighted to me some serious problems in my attic insulation and ventilation that I simply was not aware of -- previously, I thought that it was reasonably well insulated. This drove me to a trip to the hardware store and an afternoon of work. With the first snow of the season, the 'roof' is proving that this work changed how my house is operating just how Scheckel's description said it would.

Of great interest was the opening section, which provides a discussion of the 'energy system' in the United States, which is important background for understanding how one's home links into the large system. As part of that, roughly 20% of the nation's energy use is in homes. If every American home owner read this book and made minimal investments based on it, the nation could see a rapid cut in energy use -- through efficiency rather than any reduction in lifestyle.

While everything in this book can be found elsewhere, this is a clear and relatively comprehensive discussion of key household energy issues. (And, if necessary, one can quickly track down more detail on other issues.) I've already recommended this book to over 50 people directly ... And, while I originally got this from the library, I find it of such use that I've bought a copy to have around as reference material ...
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Birney K. Summers on September 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
The first third of the book is general information about energy, how it is made, how to count it, how to work the numbers. It should be a required class textbook for High School seniors. This background information is very well written and easy to understand. But, that is not why folks should buy this book.

The real meat starts at about page 93 with some very important electrical power safety tips, followed by an appliance-by-appliance list of items that use energy in a typical North American home. It is alphabetical and organized like an index.

Each item listed includes information about the amount of energy it uses and tips on how to save money using it. The "what to do" information is very specific and easy to put into practice. It starts with Air Cleaners and goes right through to Well Pumps.

Some items get just a sentence or two and others get a whole chapter. The biggest energy users get the most page space. Hot water, heating and air conditioning get their own chapters, as they should.

Like most grouchy old engineers, I read the book looking for details to disagree with. That approach was rewarded with frustration. In fact, there is so much good stuff in this book that I put it on the shelf next to my desk where it will be a handy reference.

I am forever getting questions from folks wanting to know how much they save when they shut off the item in question. The book has a handy chart, as appendix C, which does a good job answering that question.

More importantly, it provides focus for action by letting you identify the big energy users in your home. I get too many questions from people worried about the cost of running a computer when they should be focused on their heating, cooling and kitchen energy use.

The book is targeted at folks who own a house, but renters should read it too. If you pay the energy bill at your home this book will pay back the cover price many times over.
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