We all know that your average American McMansion is a lot bigger than the standard German home. But increased American energy usage isn't just down to size; the very way that we Yanks build our houses leads to inefficiency, a problem that modern German homebuilders have obsessively tackled.
At first glance, it may not be obvious how and why the Germans do things differently from us. Why do the majority of German homes distribute their heat via water, while the majority of Americans use forced air? Why does the house next door to the one shown below have steps built into the roof? How does the German government incentivize homeowners to make their homes more efficient? In this video, the fellas from the American This Old House TV show answer these questions and more:
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I especially like the "Energy Pass" idea. Even if you were just renting a place, wouldn't you like to know, in advance, how much the utilities would actually run you?