When we designed our manufactured home, we knew we wanted to make it as energy efficient as possible. We were able to make some energy-efficient choices in the building process such as upgrading the insulation and selecting a thicker padding under the carpet and wood laminate to minimize heat loss. (Serious savings: our house remains a consistent temperature during the day and only drops about 4-6 degrees on a cold night.) But we didn’t stop there.
We also included a couple of solar tubes to increase the natural lighting during the day in our den and guest bathroom. Because our floor plan has lots of double-paned windows as well, we literally don’t need to turn on the lights in our house until it gets dark outside.
During the design and planning phase of the home, we increased the number of recessed lights in the main living area and are currently replacing the incandescent bulbs with dimmable LED bulbs (that we got for FREE from our utility provider).
Another energy saving upgrade we’ve recently made is purchasing Zap remote outlet switches. It allows us to turn on lights and items with a remote AND saves us up to 15% of the energy the item uses. We’ve programmed our living room and den lights to turn on with one click of a button.
Appliances and Saving Water
Our home came with an appliance package that we upgraded to a more energy efficient one, but it didn’t come with a washer or dryer. So, we did a lot of homework and selected a top-load, high-efficiency Maytag washer and dryer. The washer automatically determines how much water is needed to wash a load of clothes. We’ve noticed that it doesn’t take much water at all and only fills the drum about one-third of the way up. Our dryer also senses when the clothes are dry and turns off once it’s determined they’re dry. Important side note: We purchased the Bravos 4.3 set and we love it. However, we had to read the directions first. The washer seems to work best using the detergent pods, like Gain Flings, since it’s a high efficiency washer. Too much detergent and clothes will not rinse properly.
We switched out our shower heads to a Delta super-low-flow shower head that pumps 1.5 gallons of water out per minute, but can be adusted to 2.5 gallons per minute. I honestly can’t tell the difference and have been using the lower setting.
We’re in the process of finalizing our landscaping and have selected drought-tolerant plants. We are also putting together a rain barrel system that collects the small amount of rain we get to water a few plants by channeling our rain gutters to the barrels (for us, most of that water will be used by late spring so we won’t have a mosquito problem in the future). Our plot of land is also really small, so we won’t be using much water anyway.
In the Future
Our ultimate goal is to include some solar panels in the future. We know we won’t be able to power all of our items off them, but even a little bit will be helpful. We find that between our computers and appliances, we often reach the second energy tier with our electric company. If the solar panels could keep us in tier one, that would be worth it.