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.        

If you think understanding energy efficiency is difficult try writing about it!


Posted 05/08/2011 by Siti Crook

It was 1985 when Dennis declared his plans to build a condominium that featured energy efficiency technology.  The country was in the midst of its first major oil crisis and gasoline prices were high. There were long lines at the gas pumps and frequent shortages. 

Dennis could see the “writing on the wall” and thought energy efficient homes would be a solution.  At the time I understood his reasoning and how it could help to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. 

Being dependent on oil that we needed to bring into our country from foreign sources, seemed like a risky arrangement.   It doesn’t take much to disturb supply—a natural disaster or a revolution and we’re feeling the ripple effects at the pump.

We succeeded in purchasing the property he had selected, an old 1800’s abandoned stone steam-heat plant.  Instead of converting the stone structure as planned into condominium units, Dennis built seven energy efficient homes in its place. Building energy efficient homes wasn’t Dennis’ “A” plan it was his “B” plan.  We had to scrap the condominium idea because the Savings and Loan industry was collapsing and our lending institution was going under.    

But the story I want to share now, isn’t the story about how we came to build the first energy efficient housing development in the State of Pennsylvania.   This is a story about how I became a writer about energy efficiency. 

As a child I would tell my mom that I would write a book someday, and I also told her I would be a ballerina too. I never had the opportunity to study dance but Dennis’ vision and decision to be a builder of energy efficient homes spurred me on to want to write.  

I didn’t actually do much writing in the 1980’s.  I mostly observed Dennis at work.  I was fascinated as I watched him demolish the stone steam-heat plant; take down two tall brick smoke stacks, and remove six-underground oil storage tanks.   Dennis eventually removed all that existed in order to build new.  It’s unfortunate that the term “go green” hadn’t become popularized yet.  Marketing the development would have been a lot simpler.

By the time the homes were finished, the sod laid, and the driveways black topped I had learned how an energy efficient structure is built.   But the means to convey the benefits of energy efficient living to large audiences via the internet wasn’t readily available.

As the years progressed so did technology.  Computers had become affordable for many.  But I felt comfortable and I didn’t see the need for me to understand energy efficiency technology.  So, when Dennis attempted to explain how energy efficient technology worked and how it would save energy, money and increase comfort I only half-listened.

I don’t recall at what point it was that I decided it was time to learn.  Dennis had established our building business model, energy efficient homes and the “train had already left the station.”   Now it was up to me to decide if I wanted to join him on this journey.

At the turn of the century I was really spoiled.  I didn’t want to visit other people’s homes because I truly hate feeling cold, and everyone I knew lived in places that were cold and drafty.  I had become so use to feeling comfortable all year round that I thought everyone would want to live the same way.

I thought all I had to do was write about how one would feel comfortable living in an energy efficient home and we’d have plenty of home buyers. 

In the early days Dennis did most of the writing. But over time life became busier, our family bigger, and being both a builder and a writer was a bit over the top.  So I said to Dennis—“I’ll write about energy efficiency while you build energy efficiently.”

Wow was I in for a rude awakening.  It’s one thing to observe how something is done and have a visual memory of what you’ve observed it’s totally different to write about it.  Because I realized I had “bitten off more than I could chew” I took writing lessons.

And here I am today more than 25 years since the first energy efficient construction project.  I’m still endeavoring to share with others verbally and in written words how it feels to live and work in an energy efficient environment, and how we love to create the same environment for others to enjoy.

I have no doubt that our achievements in life were made possible by Dennis’ wisdom and vision, combined with his extraordinary talent, construction skills, and forward thinking.

The point I’d like you to take with is:

 1) If you don’t know how to write you may understand energy efficiency technology but you won’t be able to explain how it works to others. 

2)  If you don’t understand energy efficiency technology you may be able to write but not about energy efficiency in a way that others will understand, even if you are the best writer.

And……

3) Most importantly, if you don’t understand the principles of energy efficiency you will certainly have a time of it attempting to create a living environment that is efficient, balanced, and affordable to more than just the top 10% of the wealthiest in our population.

P.S. It’s an honor to be of service.

P.P.S. Happy mother’s day 2011



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