The Ecohouse features a number of energy efficient appliances and other household tools that assist our residents in their experience with practicing sustainable behaviors.
Many of life's sustainable living lessons occur in the kitchen. Residents proactively approach the following lessons:
Local Food Preparation: Residents frequently experiment with the preparation of local food items in the kitchen. In fact, the house has been known to host a number of cooking workshops, potlucks and community meals; all of which feature locally produced foods.
Food Preservation: The Ecohouse kitchen serves as the location for occasional canning and food preservation workshops. Canning/preserving is a practice that allows us to continue to eat local, wholesome foods year-round while saving money.
Composting and Recycling: The Ecohouse residents are encouraged to reduce the amount of waste they generate and to limit what waste is sent to the landfill. The kitchen houses the recycling and composting bins for the residents.
Communal Space: The house features a welcoming and spacious kitchen and dining table that plays host to a number of community events and potlucks throughout the year. Fostering a sense of community is an essential piece to the sustainability conversation.
Refrigerator: The fridge/freezer at OHIO Ecohouse is Energy Star rated. The freezer is located on the bottom of the unit to maximize efficiency (since heat rises). The fridge is one of the most energy consumptive products in any home. So, residents are asked to keep both the fridge and freezer appropriately-stocked and ensure the doors are always tightly closed.
Dishwasher: The dishwasher's Energy Star rating is rated as being so efficient that it is off the energystar scale, and it is smaller than a standard dishwasher so it is more likely that it is full when it is in use. Ecohouse Residents wash most of their dishes by hand, but when they have guests over for potlucks and open houses, they use their Danby Designer dishwasher. The European-designed dishwasher is smaller than a standard dishwasher because the Ecohouse has a small number of residents. The smaller size is more efficient because when it is used to wash the dishes in the house it is more likely to be full. Most dishwashers of a similar size use between 312kWh/yr to 573kWh/yr, but the Ecohouse dishwasher uses only 280kWh/yr.
Washing Machine: The washing machine at the OHIO Ecohouse is an Energy Star certified appliance that uses significantly less water than a regular washing machine. It was manufactured by Staber Industries of Groveport, Ohio. In a large load, it uses approximately 16 gallons of water; a standard washer would use approximately 35 gallons. The machine is able to use significantly less water because it is a top loading horizontal-axis washer. It works like a front load washer where the clothes are spun through the water in the way that a dryer tumbles clothes. The washer does not need to fill up as much because the clothes all pass through the water constantly. The washer is not front load; there is a cage in the unit that can be opened from the top and locked in place. The model number for the washer is HXW2304. Although it is not an Energy Star appliance, the dryer was also purchased from Staber Industries because it is a local product. (Additionally, it's important to note that the clothes dryer is mostly used during the winter when the clothesline is difficult to use. The model for the dryer is HXD2304E.)
Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs: While the house has plenty of natural lighting which is heavily utilized by residents, all Ecohouse light fixtures are equipped with compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Using compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can be the easiest way to save energy in the home. They can be purchased anywhere that sells light bulbs, and although they have a higher up front cost, they save much more in energy costs and replacement costs over their lifetimes. A CFL uses about 2/3 less energy than a standard incandescent one and it can last from five to nine years. Most of the light fixtures use 13 or 23 watt CFLs that give off the same amount of light as a 60 or 100 watt incandescent bulb. The solar array produces enough energy to power about 185 13 watt CFLs compared to only 40 60 watt bulbs for one hour.