Green Building Electrical

greenbuildingBuilding Professionals

Green Electrician Resource

 A green strategy for  designing a  residential electrical  system can be summed up in three words: Use less power. As our supply of fossil fuels decrease and the price increases people are much more concerned about how green energy in their homes can save resources and money. Heating, cooling and lighting consume 67% of all the electricity that’s generated.

See Chapter 10 on Electrical in theGreen from the Ground Up book for more details or contact us about training.

Green Electricians’ Transition Guide

Provide power strips that can be switched off

  • Phantom loads can have a surprising electric draw. TV’s and other appliances should be unplugged when not in use
  • Inventory appliances that are kept in “standby mode”. Connect these plugs to one or more power strip that can be easily unplugged when not in use
  • Power strips can be purchased at any home store.

Replace all incandescent bulbs w/ compact fluorescent/LEDs

These90% of the energy that goes into an incandescent bulb is given off as heat, not light. LED’s and fluorescent are much more efficient and save the homeowner money on their energy bills.

These lights cost more initially, but save money in the long run. Incandescent bulbs are being banned in Europe and will probably be banned in the U.S.

These lights are readily available at most home stores

Install dimmer switches to help save energy

  • The full power of a light is not always needed. Dimmers save energy and provide ambiance.
  • Replace toggle switches with dimmer switches
  • Dimmers are readily available at most home stores


Seal around electric outlets

TheseAir infiltration is a huge problem and the source of much energy waste. It is important to seal even the small air gaps around an electrical outlet as they have a big impact over the life of the building.

Install a foam gasket around outlets and switches.

One can of expansion foam. Look for products that use HFC rather than HCFC or CFC as propellants.


Replace home appliances with Energy Star models

The Energy Star label indicated the appliance exceeds energy performance guidelines for energy efficiency.

These appliances are installed in the same way as older models and require no addition work.

Almost all appliances are available in Energy Star. Contact your local appliance store to see what is available.


Install lighting fixtures thoughtfully

Many homes have more light fixtures than are needed. Install fixtures to light a specific task area. Have lights controlled by several switches so that only the lights that are needed are switched on.

Consult with a lighting designer and the homeowner to outline the specific lighting needs. Install fixtures that will maximize light output.

Minimize recessed cans or eliminate them entirely


Install programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats save energy by allowing homeowners to set the house to a lower temperature when they are not home

Homes should be zoned as that areas, such as basements can be set to a lower temperature. Bedrooms do not need to be heated when they are not in use.

These thermostats are readily available and are easy to install.


Rough in conduit for future solar panels

Conduit is much easier to install while a home is being built or remodeled rather than trying to fit it in after the fact.

Talk to a solar installer to see if there are any specific requirements to meet. This process is cheap and easy. Clients will reap the benefits if they later choose to install panels.


Green Building Training & Certification

Find out when the next Green Building Training is and learn more about Green Building Practices.

Green from the Ground Up Best Practices

  • Before deciding where electrical lighting should go, make windows part of the overall lighting plan.
  • Skip incandescent light bulbs in favor of alternatives that use less power: compact fluorescent lamps or light-emitting diodes.
  • Choose Energy Star Appliances
  • Install dimmer switches, times or motion-sensing switches on electric lights.
  • Plug electronic devices with standby features into a power strip that can be switched off when the devices are not in use.
  • Go for lighting plans that match the light source with the anticipated use of space – task lighting instead of glaring overhead lights, for example, or lights that can be adjusted depending on how they’re used.
  • Use electrical resistance heating only for heating small spaces on a spot basis, in rooms use only occasionally, or as a backup in a super energy-efficient home.
  • When considering solar power, make sure it won’t be use to power inefficient, outdated appliances. When solar is beyond the budget consider roughing in conduit to the roof so panels can be installed later.