‘Hypermiling’ for Housing

Green Building

‘Hypermiling’ for Housing

‘Hypermiling’ for Housing: How home energy monitors will liberate an energy-conscious consumer base.

By Daniel Overbey

A 1996 Civic DX Sedan is not usually considered to be a preeminent fuel-efficient vehicle. Try telling that to Darin Cosgrove of Brockville, Ontario. He’s the cofounder of an online forum, EcoModer.com, chalk full of stories where consumers have taken vehicles like the Civic DX Sedan and increased their fuel efficiency by more than 100 percent over the EPA’s “combined” fuel economy rating. Cosgrove himself averages 69 miles per gallon (MPG) in his 14-year-old Geo Metro.

Cosgrove represents a growing community of drivers who are fed up with high gas prices but can’t necessarily afford to go out and buy a brand new Toyota Prius. Instead, these drivers are taking matters into their own hands. By monitoring their vehicle’s fuel economy, they have discovered that certain driving habits will result in higher MPGs. These techniques, collectively referred to as “hypermiling,” range from acts as simple as eliminating hard acceleration to more complex (and sometimes illegal) acts like “pulse and glide” — which is basically turning off the engine and coasting while driving. Hypermilers exemplify the liberating successes that an energy-conscious consumer base can have when armed with one simple tool — real-time energy use data. If homeowners obtain real-time energy use data for dwellings, can this phenomenon translate into the realm of home energy management? Can there be hypermiling for houses?

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Originally published in the August 2012 issues of Environmental Design Construction (EDC) magazine.

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