Pat & Dale Bulla are two of the world’s best environmentalists. They’ve been featured in dozens of publications for their award winning, home-based efforts in energy conservation, water conservation, electric transportation, nature-scaping, habitat restoration, and green gardening.
When it comes to living out a faithful conviction to caring for the creation, Pat & Dale have wisdom to share. In part one of this series, we share Central Texas energy conservation tips implemented by the Bullas when building their most recent home.
- Chose a lot with many trees and good orientation; saved many trees and planted more native trees for diversity and for shading house and driveway.
- Picked an “environmentally friendly” architect, who was very conscientious about energy efficiency, to design our 2300 square foot home; ditto homebuilder.
- Utilized “passive solar” design and have no west windows and large roof overhang for sun protection in summer.
- Utilized “radiant barrier” and excellent insulation.
- Installed 7 ceiling fans, one in every major room.
- Utilized great deal of natural light from well placed energy efficient, casement windows with low E glass; window placement allows for breeze flow-through and “chimney” effect.
- Utilized great deal of fluorescent lighting (including “natural light” color and also the larger 4100 Kelvin fixtures reflecting onto ceiling).
- Used high efficiency gas heating, 96% efficient, and electric air conditioning unit, 16 SEER.
- Utilized programmable thermostat.
- Use all “Energy Star” appliances, including refrigerator, dishwasher, front-loading washing machine, and any new appliances we purchase.
- Wash most clothes most of the time in cold water.
- Use dryer on “heat” for some wash loads; for many “hanging clothes” just toss briefly on “air dry” and then place them on hangers on a rod in laundry room or else on rod under stairs outside to dry.
- Occasionally do some summer cooking in small toaster oven or crock-pot outside kitchen.
- Added PV solar panels with City grant program, 5.1+ kW system.
- Added metal roof when hail damage required roof replacement.
Pat & Dale Bulla are members of First Unitarian Church in Austin, the Interfaith Environmental Network (IEN), and the IEN Energy Action Team.