Making Home Energy Efficiency Human, Doable, and (Gasp!) Fun

Energy Circle home energy efficiency expertsAh, the magic of Twitter. I’ve been on there for the past year and during that time have become a green business hub of sorts. Every day, 10-20 new people “follow” me (choose to have what I say be tracked by them) One particularly interesting one was EnergyCircle.

In a miraculously concise statement of purpose, they say, “Our singular goal as a company is to take the complexity out of home energy.”

How do they do that?

Through telling their own stories. Exploring what’s going on out there. Teaching you how to best do it yourself. And know when it’s time to bring in a professional.

Then, armed with knowledge, encouragement, and others to identify with, they have a store full of ways to put talk into action.  My antennae went up when I saw they sell space heaters. Seeming to know this would be an issue, they have a quick, fun video in their blog entry YES! Sometimes an Electric Space Heater Makes Sense.

It argues that the ones they sell more broadly (and vertically) distribute heat, so they’re not just heating at the ground level. But, um, doesn’t heat rise? I’d be interested to see one that is energy efficient as well. Well, more efficient then their other energy hog brethren.

Energy Circle is a great example of the effective use of blogs and other social media to add value, enhance their offering, create more sales, but not be ham fisted about it. They create a believable “We’re one of you” feel about the site, basically being people that were in the same place many of their potential customers were a few years ago – wanting to have a healthier, more energy efficient home, but a bit at a loss as to how to do it, and where to start.

In challenging economic times like these, EnergyCircle may be just the thing for many homeowners, looking to save money without having to spend a lot to do so.

Readers: What other businesses are you seeing out there effectively integrating being a resource with being a business? What energy efficiency tools have you been using/interested in recently? I look forward to your comments below.

About the Author

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media. Who he has and wants to work with includes consumer, media, clean tech, NGOs, social ventures, and museums. For more on GreenSmith Consulting, see He also writes for Triple Pundit
  • locke rush

    Here in Pa. we average about 7 mph.Is the small Helix system practical? thanks – Locke

    I love the look!

  • Well, one electric heater ought to be just as efficient as the next.

    The electrical energy going through the heater has to be turned into either heat energy, light energy, or kinetic energy. The kinetic energy will eventually lead to friction which is also heat energy. So 100% of the energy in an electric heater gets turned into heat, eventually. There really is no such thing as an energy efficient or energy inefficient electric heater – they are all precisely 100% efficient at converting electrical energy into heat energy.

    There are, however, heaters that are more or less EFFECTIVE at doing a particular job. Radiant heaters are better at heating the solid objects they’re pointed at, so helpful for heating you as you sit on the couch, without heating the air between the heater and you. Heaters with fans do a better job of distributing heat through a room more quickly after they’re turned on. Yes, hot air rises, but hot air is more evenly and quickly distributed in a room where there’s a fan.

    The inefficiency of electric heaters lies in the fact that much of the electricity we consume is produced from coal, and only about 33% of the heat from burning the coal gets turned into electricity at the outlet (about 63% is lost to the inherent inefficiency of the coal plants and the remaining bit from power line transmission losses). So heating with electricity produced from a heat source (coal, natural gas, nuclear) is both more energy intensive than sources such as natural gas, and more expensive unless your electrical rates are dirt cheap.

    Not to toot my own horn, but I run a website business that does precisely what you’re asking about: provide free advice on home energy efficiency to whoever cares to visit. There are many such sites out there, and I too am “one of you” – someone who, after moving into a very old, inefficient house in 1997, managed to turn it into a very energy efficient house without too much investment of time or money.

    Robin from

  • We are doing a lot of little things around here to bring the house up to something like energy star standards or better prior to putting in solar water heater, radiant floor heating, solar/wind hybrid power system.
    It is a Palm Harbor Modular built in 1995. So far we have sealed pipe penetrations in the floors, insulated curtain liners that I open during warm sunny winter days and close during cold nights and very warm days in summer, backed up by double blinds, gaskets in the outlet and switch covers. I have added a second water heater blanket to the first. We plan on more insulation as panels on the outside walls when it is time to recycle the vinyl siding with metal. We have changed to all CFLs and a few LEDs and will change to all LEDs as the CFLs die off. We also want to do a metal roof with more insulation in the ceiling and over the old roof and add deep screened porches. We have cut our power use from the previous familys 4,000 kwrs month to 1200 kwhrs month during lower use times and 2500. We want to continue doing more improvements on efficiency. So far we have replaced the dishwasher and clothes washer. We want to replace the fridge and stove next.

  • Thanks much for the thorough breakdown on heaters. By all means, toot your own horn!

  • @Robert: Sounds like you’re well on your way. Are you documenting any of this?

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  • Interesting opinions you offer here. I think with everyone so concerned about being green and energy efficient, this will become a viable business option and we will see more companies like this popping up.

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