Some of the fastest return on investment you can get is by retrofitting a leaky, energy wasting building with high R-value insulation and efficient appliances. Many estimates show that US buildings use close to 50% of the total annual energy in the country- so this seems like a natural place to start if we want to conserve. But what if you’re building a house from scratch?
Imagine this. You live in historic home built in 1916. At the end of your flagstaff walkway, pale grey banisters lead you up weathered stairs onto a wrap around porch. The front window is grand and welcomes early morning sunshine in as you drink your robust Columbian blend. However, your morning coffee isn’t agreeing with you. It’s not that the table cream
With an impending energy crisis, the need for modernized insulation methods has reached an all-time high. Currently, almost half of the nation’s energy is used to heat and cool commercial and residential buildings. However, a typical home loses around 30 percent of this energy through its windows and
Last year, my wife and I went through the delightful process of buying a home (I also had to sell a home, but that’s a post for another time). While we can look back and laugh about it now, there were many times when we thought the deal would fall apart.
The home which we now own is an older home, built
In September, the UK’s University of Bath completed construction on a small building whose walls are insulated with the shredded woody inner core, or shiv, of the hemp plant (not to be confused with bast, the fibrous outer part under the bark).
The hemp plant, which can’t be grown in the United States because one variety,
One of the best and most exciting parts of my job is helping make homes and businesses more efficient. Why? The places where we live and work consume 40% of the energy we use in the U.S. Through tune-ups to existing homes or new construction, doing more while using less energy is key to improving our buildings and energy future.
“Ah-ha moments”, those times when something is triggered in one’s mind that opens up a new understanding or way of seeing things. Day three of West Coast Green 2009 brought together some of the brightest minds in the “green building” movement and provided the platform for the cross-pollination of innovation and ingenuity that led many to “ah-ha moments”.
One attendee, Jason Lear of Batt + Lear Designers and Builders who traveled from Seattle, Washington to attend the show shared some of the information that led to a complete rethinking for the way he conducts projects at his family-run business. During a previous show, Mr. Lear sat through a presentation given by Rick Chitwood, President of Chitwood Energy Management. The presentation by Mr. Chitwood was so simple yet so powerful, it changed Mr. Lear’s business overnight. The subject of the inspiration; properly sealed attics.
The Obama Administration in March announced $5 billion in funding to weatherize low income homes, but today little of that money has been spent. The logjam of Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) money that should be going to upgrade windows and insulation has been blamed on the Departments of Energy and Labor because of confusing rules over wage rules.
According to the DOE half of the money has been sent to the states. But many states have not distributed funds to the cities and local community organizations for fear of running afoul of the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act. The rule was instituted to ensure fair wages on public works projects.
Federal weatherization programs have existed for 30 years, but this is the first time that Davis-Bacon rules were applied. Lacking a precedent of what are fair rates for weatherization laborers, many states have been waiting for the Department of Labor to set guidelines. The DOL is to issue rules for 15 states today, with the remaining state guidelines to be out by the end of August.