I came across this rather interesting story on the NYTimes blogs by David Pogue: It’s a house that heats and cools itself naturally. While I won’t summarize the story here or indeed post selected contents. To read the story, you can click on this link, but I’ll point out some of the interesting aspects that might make a house like this appeal to investorbloggers.
The idea of the construction is simply to use an abundant material from a renewable resource to construct a house that itself is environmentally neutral, needing no energy to cool it in summer or warm it in winter. In fact, the temperature is influenced by the convection effect as well as proximity to the ground to cool or warm the house. Traditional insulation is typically avoided in the walls to enhance ‘flow through’ of the convection currents. The secret lies in a wood called southern yellow pine that contains a lot of resin that naturally occurs in the South.
Naturally avoiding the use of heating or cooling systems in houses would help cut fuel bills dramatically, as the home heats and cools itself without depending on electricity or electronic temperature management systems. I’m not sure how much of a traditional utility bill could be eliminated via this kind of house, but even raising base temperatures inside in winter or cooling in summer could significantly reduce the amount of additional heat or cooling required.
Combine this with external resources wind power or solar power to generate electricity for additional uses such as tvs, lighting and other lower power modern tools, and you could have a house that is virtually fuel free. It generates as much power and heating as it needs from completely renewable resources.
If this were not enough, you get them to build albeit a standard form house on your land, from $60K to about $200K (or more for some models), and you’d get a house that would more than likely pay for itself just in fuel bill savings alone. Throw in a unique house on your own land, and you would likely have some price appreciation, and gains in value just for putting the project together. Of course, you’d need to install a solar panel or two and/or a wind turbine (neither of these is cheap), but you’d never have to fork out for utility bills in milder months. And you’d like get tax benefits, subsidies or credits as well!
Would anyone like to comment on typical fuel bills for 2 bedroom houses/apartments in the States per month? I have no idea what these are at all!