Re: Energy savings & safety, was: security in cohousing
From: Bitner/Stevenson (
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 1999 23:36:04 -0600 (MDT)
I didn't mean to discount the energy and efficiency aspects of your well 
considered post. You're right, of course. I'm surprised you haven't
mentioned water conservation, as that must be a part of your plans. I guess
it didn't really go with the whole "safety" theme. Would you care to let us
in on any interesting ideas your group has?
Liz Stevenson
Southside Park Cohousing
Sacramento, California

>From: Joe Gotobed <jgotobed [at] LPL.Arizona.EDU>
>To: Multiple recipients of list <cohousing-l [at]>
>Subject: Energy savings & safety, was: security in cohousing
>Date: Sun, Aug 1, 1999, 9:15 PM

> The responses to the "security in cohousing" thread make it clear we
> all agree community is the most effective security. That is the primary
> reason our family is involved in the Sonoran CoHousing project here in
> Tucson.
> While I agree with Liz's statement "there is no such thing as safe"
> it's important to try. I advocate automated systems for safety and
> energy savings and simply note they can be extended to other uses.
> Fire safety. Smoke alarms are essential and I'd like to be able to hear
> my neighbors' alarm as well as my own. Ours CoHo will have ten three &
> four-plexes. So in addition to the inside horns that wake you from your
> sleep, one more on the outside of the building wakes the neighbors.
> Make sure it's high enough off the ground to avoid tampering.
> Energy efficiency. Interior lighing is a big heat load. Leaving lights
> on more than needed wastes energy and adds cooling costs to counter the
> heat (I live in a desert). Doors/windows left open also increase
> utility bills. Door and window sensors along with motion sensor light
> switches (with an on-off overide) will all be paid for by their energy
> savings. This is based on current utility costs (which may well rise
> over time).
> A growing number of lenders are willing to listen to this simple
> pitch.  If you lend me the money for the efficiency foo-foo the utility
> bill reductions will more than pay the increased mortgage.  You're
> simply offering to send the bank some of what you save from the gas &
> electric folks. They like that.
> Extending these safety and energy savings devices to perform as alert
> systems is not complicated and very reliable. I may be a *bit* biased
> due to twenty years as a computer-geek but my 5 yearold can turn our
> alarm on & off and the three yearold could if we'd thought to put the
> panel lower on the wall.  If it was on the outside next to the door
> then it could unlock the door for you too. They are used routinely
> on autos now which is far more demanding than residential use.
> Many homeowners insurance policys are less if you have a "security"
> system.
> It's certainly true that "security" systems don't make you safe.
> Reliable ones alert the community (with few false alarms) to the
> presence of burgulars that might otherwise be missed. As a consequence,
> word gets around among the thieves, and your space is less of a
> target.
> Quality designs do not have the horn where the bad guys can silence
> it.  The buildings' fire horn, out of reach and easy to see, can do
> this duty.
> Of course I've not talked my neighbors into any of this :-)... by &
> large we're just struggling to keep prices in line & get built. The
> extra $1,000 may only be spent by my family when it's all said & done.
> And if I only reap the energy savings and never set off the fire alarm
> that would suite me just fine. If my teenager is so clueless as to set
> of the alarm I've got a real problem :-). Yikes.
> Cheers,
> Joe Gotobed

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