How Appliances Affect Home Cost
Your appliance purchases are not afterthoughts. They are part of your home design. Not only do appliances from refrigerators to computers affect your operating costs (electric bills, etc.), but appliances can add considerable construction costs to an off-grid home to "size" your power system to your needs.
- Lights: Maximize natural lighting ("daylighting"), supplemented by compact fluorescents, LEDs, or photovoltaic lights.
- Refrigerators: Some say that chest freezers/refrigerators are more efficient than closet types. Reclaim the compressor's waste heat and put it to good use such as heating hot water or preheating air entering the home. Shield your refrigerator from that natural lighting unless you want to create a daily "cockfight" between the Sun and your electric meter.
- Computers: Few people other than graphic designers, engineers, and hardcore gamers need the latest power-hungry chips so size your computer to your needs. Generally, AMD chips have been considered less power hungry than Intel for a given performance level, although Intel has been challenging AMD on that score. Laptop computers generally use less power than desktop computers but the cheaper "desktop replacement" laptops are portable yet usually lack power-saving technology while the "Mobile" computer-processor chip laptops are the king of low-watt computing.