Missourians Sweat Out Late Summer Heat Wave
Thursday, August 29, 2013
ST. LOUIS – Heat advisories continue for the next few days because of a sweltering 100-degree late summer heat wave.
That means staying inside in air conditioning and, for many people, much higher electric bills as a result.
But not for Dr. Daniel Berg, a physician in St. Louis.
Two months ago, Berg moved into a newly built passive home. It uses geothermal air conditioning that captures the coolness of the earth and uses only 25 percent of the energy of regular air conditioners.
Berg says because he made his place pretty air tight, it stays comfortable even on really hot days.
"It feels nice,” he adds. “It's like cool, and the walls are made of Styrofoam and concrete.
“So, it's like Styrofoam Legos that click together and then the center is hollow, and they come with a truck and they pour cement down the middle of it."
The home is environmentally friendly in many ways, from the solar panels to the thick insulation even in the floors.
Berg says he and his wife probably spent 15 percent more upfront, but their monthly bills stay low.
The entire house is electric but he says it uses only about $4 a month in electricity.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency says buildings contribute up to 40 percent of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change every year. That's why Berg built his home.
People who live in apartments and condos and can't afford to build a brand new energy efficient-house don't have to feel like they are doing nothing, though.
Berg says many of those buildings are naturally energy efficient because they share walls and don't need as much extra insulation.
"Apartments are much more efficient,” he explains. “In fact, people in New York City on average use only about 50 percent as much energy in their buildings as people in St. Louis."
Berg says even small changes make a difference.
Buying an energy-efficient appliance is within reach of many budgets and switching often means big rebates.
Energy-efficient light bulbs save money, and so does unplugging TVs and computers when they're not in use.
Berg says he believes the 97 percent of scientists who say electricity produced by coal pollutes and does contribute to climate change.
By conserving the way he uses electricity, Berg believes that he is playing a role in securing the future.
For tips on saving money while beating the heat, Missourians are urged to go to their local utility company's website and click on energy efficiency.
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