Not long ago a friend let us borrow her hybrid car so we could travel from Port Angeles, Washington, to Seattle. The car was amazingly energy efficient. A really cool feature was the dashboard display, which provided constant feedback on energy use and source. For example, when we were waiting at a drawbridge, we could see just when the gas engine provided power and when the car was in battery mode only. And while in motion, the display kept us informed as to how many miles per gallon we were getting. Sure enough, having that instant feedback altered the way I drove, going a little slower and not being, as my wife would say, Speed Racer all the time.
And the car was quite comfortable, even luxurious. It was a larger sedan that I could fit in comfortably, and it had a terrific sound system. Not once did we feel like we were giving up something in the name of efficiency. Which brings up the question: If we can build cars like this, why can’t we do the same for houses?
Well, the good news is we can. Here’s just one example: a home designed by Lake/Flato Architects, where some wonderful architecture is combined with energy efficiency for a truly special home.