Electricity, then and now!

Yesterday we mentioned the Better Buildings by Design Conference.  So today let’s continue the discussion and take a look at how electricity if seen back then as compared to today.

For those of you that are “old and gray” (like me) you will remember that the most wonderful advancement in construction was the creating and development of “The Total Electric Home.”  All across America huge developments were build using electric heat, electric hot water, electric air conditioning, electric cooking, and electric everything else.  Homes were wonderful and everyone jumped on board the new trend.

Then came the 1970’s and the Worldwide Energy Crisis.  Everything went from cheap fuel and very cheap electricity to very high priced fuel.  I can vividly remember when monthly electric bills surged past monthly mortgage payments and homeowners were confronted with a devastating financial crisis.  Don’t forget that since fuel and electricity were both cheap homes were built everywhere with little or no thought to Energy Efficiency.  Back then a gallon of Home Heating Fuel Oil cost a whopping 19½¢.  To fill up the fuel oil tank completely cost about Fifty bucks!  Yes, a tank of fuel oil cost $50.  Seriously, as silly as it sounds it was so cheap who cared if the window was open for fresh air?  In January people slept with the bedroom windows open all the time!  Why not?

Then in 1972 everything changed almost overnight.  Fuel oil prices sky rocked, gas for the car was very hard to find at any price, and electric bills went through the ceiling.

Almost immediately building techniques changed and the use of electricity fell into disrepute. 

If you had an electric hot water heater it was highly recommended to change to propane.  If you had electric heat you were encouraged to switch to fuel oil. Electric heat all but disappeared.

As recent as the early 1990’s  people were encouraged to switch from Electric Hot Water over to Propane or Natural Gas primarily because technologies for heat and hot water had not made significant steps forward.

Two huge factors have impacted Electricity and its usage today:  First, the recognition that Global Warming is being greatly impacted by fossil fuels and Second, the technology driving electricity and its usage has dramatically expanded and grown. 

We will be taking a long look at the technological advances available today.

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