Search For Eco-Friendly Solutions Pays Off

September 13, 2008

Search for Eco-Friendly Solutions Pays Off (NewsUSA) - Ed Begley Jr., a movie and television actor whose credits include “A Mighty Wind” and “Batman Forever,” used to get laughs for his so-called extreme eco-friendly practices, including riding a bike to gala events. Today, Begley, who embraced the green movement in 1970, seems to have had it right all along.

As a result of his convictions, Begley created “Begley’s Best,” a line of natural, non-toxic household cleaning products, and recently published “Living Like Ed: A Guide to the Eco-Friendly Life.” In 1988, Begley moved into a house built in 1936 and has transformed it into an example of his dedication to energy conservation.

Begley’s roof hosts a wind turbine and more than 6 kilowatts of solar panels that provide the majority of his home’s energy as well as power his car. On a recent episode of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Begley said he only pays about $300 a year in electric


Despite his extensive efforts, Begley realized his environmentally friendly house still had room for improvement after a home energy performance evaluation. An infrared camera showed leaks where heat was escaping in the winter, and cool air was seeping out in the summer.

After sealing off his basement, Begley’s home required a water heater that could operate in such an environment. He chose A.O. Smith’s gas-condensing power-vent Vertex 100, the result of A.O. Smith’s partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy to accelerate the development of higher-efficiency residential water heaters.

Most standard and tankless water heaters operate at about 80 percent thermal efficiency, meaning at least 20 cents of every dollar spent on energy to heat water is wasted. With the Vertex 100 operating at 96 percent thermal efficiency, this amounts to a substantial difference in lost energy and money over the life of a water heater.

Providing higher output with more efficient combustion to produce hot water at lower operating costs, the Vertex 100 will also help reduce Begley’s heating bill in the winter - pushing him one step closer to total sustainability.

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