Energy Efficient Homes

○ The ideal energy efficient building retains the best environment for living while minimizing the consumption and waste of energy. © Crook 2006. ○ The biggest source of clean cheap energy is energy not used. R. Muller, Foreign Policy, Nov 2008. ○ If you don’t understand energy efficient technology it’s probably because it’s based on principles of thermodynamics, physics, and rocket science. © Crook 2010. ○ When you install an alternative energy system without first reducing your building’s demand for energy you ‘re still wasting energy and foregoing comfort--You've put the cart before the horse. © Crook 2011. ○ An energy efficient building is always "Green" but a green buildings isn't always energy efficient. © Crook 2009. ○ "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction", Sir Isaac Newton's "Action-Reaction Law", 1687. ○ The transfer of heat between objects can never be stopped: it can only be slowed down. © Crook 2008. ○ It's always easier to get into something than it is to get out. Clean coal refers to coal with less particulants/pollutants. ○ Clean coal when burned, unless SEQUESTRATED spews CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) into the atmosphere causing pollution. What does "clean coal" and "pork the other white meat have in common? Both are half-truths and both have the propensity to make you sick.


Dennis Crook’s Work

Dennis CrookDennis Crook was only 14 when he designed his first building, a barn he made for his parents. His first real job came a few years later with an insulation and home improvement company in the small Iowa town of Newton that was his home. Dennis learned it was easy to convince people to buy insulation and other energy saving improvements – he just showed homeowners how much they’d save on heating bills.

“Winters are cold in Iowa ,” he recalls. “We offered them comfort and savings. People were interested.”

Dennis remembered the lessons he learned early in his working career. Later, when he was a master carpenter in the union, he was troubled by the shortcuts contractors took to save building costs. Such “savings” only ended up costing homeowners a bundle in heating bills in the long run.

Construction work in Iowa was scarce. Dennis was traveling to jobs during the day, and going to college at night. In 1979, he packed up his tools and moved to Philadelphia . His life changed in a big way when he met and married Siti. As their family grew, he had to earn a better living. Figuring that he could make more money as a contractor than as a union carpenter, Siti and Dennis started their own firm, E=MC 2 . With Siti handling the marketing and financing, they made a name for themselves in Philadelphia .

Drawing on his early experience, he designed homes using every possible energy saving technique. At the time, the US was in the midst of its first energy crisis. Energy efficiency was headline news. Researchers rushed to find alternative energy and ways to make homes more energy efficient. Reading every study he could find, Dennis found that he already used many of the techniques explained in the studies.

In 1985, he put his research to the test. Using his unique home design, formerly known as “Energy Homes” he built a housing development in Philadelphia’s historic Overbrook Farms. Owens-Corning company had launched the “Thermal-Crafted Home” program, the first of its kind in the nation, and Dennis’ audited designs earned him the privilege of certifying the new homes as (energy efficient) “Thermal-Crafted Homes”. As timing would have it, by the time the development was done, the energy crisis was over. Consumer concern about energy costs began to fall by the wayside.

Not long after, Dennis received word that his mother, Elaine, lost her home in a fire. He and Siti packed up the family and moved back to Iowa. His first objective was to build Elaine her own energy efficient home. With that accomplished, he and Siti went back to school, attending Iowa State University in Ames. Dennis concentrated on environmental studies that he could apply in his construction business. By this time, he had made a commitment to building environmentally sound, energy efficient homes.

After a year, he accepted an invitation from the University of Wale ‘s European Business Management School. The Crook family moved to Wales, where Dennis completed a research survey of the United Kingdom ‘s green housing market. Through the study, he learned the difference between “green” practices in the UK and the USA.

When they returned to Philadelphia in 1996, he continued to research energy efficient building methods and materials. For several years, he and Siti had experimented with a new “green” building material. Finally, in 2002, they received a patent for MAQCrete, the first cement type material mixed with organic fiber that is energy efficient, structural and completely recyclable.

Again, Dennis needed a proving ground for his research. This time he used his family home, a beautiful 1880’s post-and-beam barn that he reconstructed on a new foundation, utilizing energy efficient building materials and techniques. The house is 4,163 square-feet, with 18-foot cathedral ceilings, yet the utility costs are one-tenth of comparable conventionally built homes.

It is Dennis intention to teach and work with others to cut their heating and cooling bills, by sharing what he learned over the past four decades in the construction industry of which the past 25 years have been committed to energy efficiency.

P.S. On a totally unrelated topic to energy efficiency, but of possible historical interest to some is Dennis’ achievement in 1967 at the age of 16. 

Dennis became the youngest AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) Boxing Judge in history.  In addition, to judging AAU boxing events Dennis also met Jerry Quarry just days after Quarry’s October 26, 1970 fight with then Cassius Clay (now known as Muhammad Ali). 

He also met other legendary boxers such as Sugar Ray Robinson and Rocky Marciano.

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