This house has the conveniences of a modern house, but consumes only 800Whr on average per day. Compare this to a typical U.S. suburban house that uses 45 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day. How is this reduction possible? It's through the strategic use of ultra-efficient appliances, daylighting, and passive solar design for temperature control and ventilation. But what's the secret of the house's amazingly low power consumption? Using solar power, the house generates 120V AC, but it's also wired for 12V. The living room has three 7W 12V compact fluorescent lamps, a 12V Widescreen LCD TV, a DVD player, and an efficient surround sound stereo system. The office has a Mac laptop acting has a desktop, and all other computer peripherals are switched off automatically when not in use. When not lit by daylight, the office uses compact fluorescents lamps, and 12V LED desk lamps.The kitchen uses LP gas to power the refrigerator and stove. The stove also integrates a toaster into its design. There is no dishwasher, and the other kitchen appliances are manual. In the laundry, there's an efficient 12V washing machine, and a gas powered dryer. Clothes are dried on racks where possible. The house uses solar thermal panels to heat water, supplemented by a tankless water heater.
In this design, electricity is used to run only those things that really require it.