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Letters: September/October 2013

September/October 2013
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2013 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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"Elder Star" a Wise Idea

That you can't find energy stats for elder care is, quite frankly, sad ("Elder Star," July/August '13, p. 2). In this age of government cut-backs, it's hard to imagine private industry stepping up to the plate to do this basic research, nor a university. (What would they get from it? Few grants to tap, no product to spin off. So no corporate money.)

I can tell you, lighting studies do show that even people in their 50s and 60s need more light—much more for fine work. Also, the quality of light they need is steady, low-contrast light. Despite this quite readily available data, those at the forefront of sustainability focus on lowering light levels, daylighting, and task lighting, which all create highly variable and high-contrast conditions. This at a time when more elderly have to work to make ends meet, too.

Advanced toilets like the one above are becoming popular and adding to the energy bills of Japanese, especially the elderly. (F_studio—Fotolia.com)

I'd like to share some elder care advice. Your comment on summer cooling is spot on. Ninety-five percent of the time natural ventilation, a fan, is all you need. That one week of straight 90ºFs can kill you, though, without some break from the heat during each day. Fully air conditioning a house for just one week is pretty expensive, though. Perhaps, as I have done, partial AC is the answer? My folks are high in the mountains, but I make sure every summer one room has a working AC, just in case. Then I call every day or so during a heat wave to make sure they aren't trying to save me the $2 a day it'll cost if they use that AC during an afternoon nap.

—Russell Higgins
(www.roughdesigns.com)
via Home Energy Pros

Full Report on Home Performance Roundtables Available

The final report on home performance roundtables, described in "Past, Present, Future: Directions in Single-Family Energy Auditing and Retrofits" (July/August '13, p. 32), is available free online at: www.energy.wsu.edu/PublicationsandTools.aspx.

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