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Archive for the ‘Space heating and lighting’ Category

I’ve had severe medical problems before and been the beneficiary of scientific advances in medical treatment. (I had a non-cancerous growth on my inner ear in 1996, called an “accoustic neuroma”, which required 11 hour surgery, and artistically sequenced immediate and subsequent recovery. It didn’t save my hearing though in one ear. That’s just gone now.)

This weekend I experienced compelling angina symptoms and spent the weekend in the hospital, culminating in the implant of a stent in an artery in my heart. It had gotten to a point of 85% blockage (which doesn’t fix itself).

I’ve been a vegetarian for 40 years, exercise vigorously. I’m overweight, but assumed that I was otherwise a very healthy person.

I assume that diet, exercise, good thinking, treating others and myself kindly would ensure my health. I assumed that my body healed itself (with my and others help), and that that was the role of the physician, to assist my body’s self-healing.

That attitude fit into my ecological view of all things, including work (a generalist financial consultant), home (well-insulated, but still “breathes”), everything.

I had a “deep ecological” form of ecological thinking, consistent with the romantic view that we are small in the scheme of things, that we respond more than we engineer. Individualistic, rural, American, ethical.

For me personally, I am now nearly certainly permanently on an engineered medication regimen. I take a drug that inhibits my white blood cells to attack foreign bodies in my bloodstream, or else the new stent that was placed would be attacked and create a new artificial blockage where the cholesterol plaque one used to be. And, I take an anti-clotting agent, that inhibits my body’s natural formation of clots that could otherwise break off from the area of the stent and cause a stroke.

The drugs do specific things. They are designed. And, the stent is co-designed to fit the specific combinations of interventions possible. My life is now artificially extended. I am now in the engineered zone of life, rather than the ecological.

And, I accept it. I am a beneficiary of it. The experience of lightly struggling for breath, my desire to live, was cellular, undeniable. My mellow, “I accept what occurs” didn’t compare to my body’s guttural desire to survive. I don’t reject medical interventions. I don’t reject the legitimacy of hospitals/doctors, as unnatural and vain as I understand the effort of life-extension to be. (My uncle lived 30 years longer than his father, a long time, but not forever.)

I’m now permanently in the pharmaceuticals-consuming population, permanently dependent on past engineering and ongoing engineered maintenance.

There is a great, long-standing, and permanently continuing debate among any that regard ecological considerations as important, between the romantic back-to-nature theme and the engineered theme of identifying specific key toxic and risk factors and socially/ecologically managing them.

Managing them at each scale is an engineered approach, consistent with my initiation into medical engineered life.

Using space heating as an example. The motives for energy conservation in one’s home or commercial space include most prominently economic factors, but also social ecological. The finite capacity of the planet to assimilate carbon in the atmosphere requires individual and social management (hence the effort to “price” carbon, as knotty as that application is) and the finite availability of carbon based fossil fuels, will raise the price of fossil fuels in the near and extended future.

If the descriptions of the level of stable long-term atmospheric carbon levels by ecologists are accurate, then even pricing carbon is unlikely to realize the reductions in atmospheric carbon that will ensure a stable climate. It will take other additional values and actions, beyond just the economical.

In conservation of space-heating costs/consumption, there are four tiers of commitment that are relevant.

1. Low-hanging fruit of weather stripping doors and windows, awnings, very basic air-sealing. (Maybe costing $500 and $50/year, saving maybe 15% of energy costs). A use of engineered materials, but not exactly an engineered system or engineered society.

2. Mid-range investments in conscientious air-sealing and insulation (but still allowing a house to exchange atmospheres at a level that naturally retains healthy internal air). (Maybe costing $5000 and $50/year, saving maybe 30% of energy costs). Again, use of engineered materials (including recycled and other ecological design), approaching an engineered system but not an engineered society.

3. Deep energy investments in super-insulation (12+ inches), very tight air-sealing (with insufficient exchanges atmospheres to naturally retain healthy internal air). (Maybe costing $50000, saving maybe 75% of energy costs). As the air quality (and indoor moisture) is greatly affected by the tight air-sealing, additional engineered features are necessary beyond just siting, shape and other natural design considerations. Atmospheres must be intentionally exhausted (and through heat exchangers to retain the warmth). Moisture paths for all conceivable moisture must be specifically designed. (Cooking, bathroom, even sweat from exercise). Much additional attention to indoor cleaning to remove dust and other toxins. Attention to what household chemicals, furnishings, paint, carpeting as they often exhaust very toxic gases.

4. Social engineering, mandated zero-energy buildings, in systems designed to optimize energy consumption (and likely ignore some other also permanent individual and social concerns)

An engineered life.

The dilemma of an engineered individual, social and institutional life is that it must identify specific design features, ALL of relevant ones and conclude a permanent balance and design solution. We haven’t done that well historically, if it is possible ever. We, like medicine, pick specific design features for specific outcomes, and exclude design features or system design features that are ignored. So, in the specific design effort to extend life, we design anti-clotting drugs. (I’m not rejecting it.) Even as the effort to extend life exerts population pressures, and financial pressures from extended retirements.

We co-create our social world. Anyone that says that they object to social engineering is fooling themselves. By every decision we/they make, they participate in creating the institutional norm by with OTHERS must live. Maybe we/they have never considered that we co-create our institutions, but it is fact, and responsibly acknowledged, rather than childishly ignored or denied.

So, how will we collaboratively or institutionally engineer? Who will decide? On what basis? Considering what time frame?

For those that advocate for non-governmental definition of design, liberty, the only way that can happen is by ethics, that masses voluntarily modify their definition of their self-interest to include affects on others including other species, current and for posterity.

Otherwise, we have primarily law, or a great deal of chaos. (Our political institutions are beyond human scale currently, so its really quite difficult to say that we have representative system.)

We don’t have a great deal of public discussion on really any social issue of import that I’m aware of. We have a great deal of politicking, but not a lot of thinking and talking, when that is really almost all of what we need.

In ways I want to reject the engineered life. I want to say that “I accept how long my body naturally can sustain”, but I don’t. I don’t want to be cold in my house either, nor financially stressed from high heating bills.

Its partially a question of meaning. What am I living for? (Tomorrow maybe).

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It won’t come immediately, likely even soon.

There is still a downward drag on home values due to a still large inventory of unsold homes and many homes in foreclosure. There is still a bubble in business to business economy, money chasing after activity and profits. (Thats where the highest compensation is and that is what the investing world understands as “business”). Investors are still sitting on the sidelines as far as funding new enterprise, holding their cash until growth is a sure thing.

Structurally, the real world phenomena that Jeremy Rifkin outlined in the “End of Work” still exists, that the world just doesn’t require full employment anymore to meet social needs, or really anything close.

The enormous class differences that exist in the modern economy now fuel the bubble in business to business economy, and distract value addition to an “affluenza” economy.

And, society is only minimally addressing the real-world conundrum of high fossil fuel prices.

So, the downward pressures of sustained unemployment and slightly increasing foreclosure rates keep the economy stagnant. Banks are still exposed to a second or third downward wave of revaluations of mortgage debt (now partially transferred to the federal government, taxpayers). Most large banks have improved their financial health, largely due to their investment sides realizing consistent 45% return from the trough 15 months ago, so there are unlikely to be many large bank bankruptcies coming even as a result of the prospective additional mortgage write-offs.

But, what we have now is likely to remain the same for a couple years, assuming there is not a war in the middle east or a disastrous oil spill or something like it. (Have you noticed that the oil spill has really not had an enormous general economic affect, just localized to Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida Gulf coast?)

What will change the economy and particularly theemployment situation is when baby boomers begin to retire in larger numbers than infusion of new employees. Those born in 1946 are 64 now. I’d give it another 5 years, before any significant affect of baby boom retirement is felt. (It is being felt profoundly in certain professions like education, in which baby boom teachers are retiring in droves.)

Waves of retirement conflict with the conventional wisdom on employment. That is that the conventional wisdom is that economic growth precedes decreases in unemployment. With retirements, unemployment will decrease before the economic restores. (There’s a countervailing pattern though resulting from Americans abysmal saving rate. That is that in order to retire MANY older people will have to work longer than anticipated and longer than desired.)

When unemployment begins to sag (2013-4 I expect, maybe slightly sooner), the general economy will revive as well. That is the time when inflation will likely reappear, as wages will increase dramatically, and if there is revived economic activity and more demand for oil, the consumption of fossil fuels will likely cause an astonishing increase in the price. Fossil fuels will likely remain an inelastic supply, meaning that for each unit increase in demand for fossil fuels, prices will increase more than proportionally to the long-term trend. The only remedy for that is reduced demand and/or options for replacement. Neither of those are occurring seriously, and given the length of time needed to make capital changes in the economy, it won’t happen before the next demand wave hits.

So, my “prediction” is economic stagnation for two to three years. (Who knows how that will affect politics. 2012?) At which point employment and breadth of purchasing power among young adults will improve, but it will be accompanied by inflationary pressures in the economy as a whole, and particularly in increases in the cost of oil.

There are many businesses exposed to oil price increases, most notably those with large space heating requirements and large transportation requirements. Trucking, large warehouses. (Space heating costs will be the more important component.)

For individuals, the space heating costs will also be the most pronounced and the most debilitating, especially in northern climates where economies are depressed currently, and fuel costs are a higher proportion of the costs of living in homes. (In a $500,000 1800 sq ft home, the costs of heating are 8% of total living costs currently. In a $200,000 1800 sq ft home, the costs of heating are 15% of total living costs.)

Transportation costs may be considered variable. People can drive relatively less. Space heating costs are fixed. People can accommodate keeping their thermostats 3 or even 5 degrees cooler than they would like, but to save half of the fuel consumed in a year requires reducing heating levels by 8 – 10 degrees. Not deaths, but discomfort.

Its coming. Its predictable. Even the timing is relatively predictable.

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The oil spill is big news. A gamut of “drill-baby-drill” advocates have oil on their faces.

Its real. The standards for offshore shelf drilling will increase dramatically throughout the globe, and particularly in the US.

To the extent that standards and costs then increase globally, including affects on drilling in on-shore but environmentally sensitive areas, the long-term supply for oil supply will change.

The existing fields will become more prominent, some more difficult to drill/recover land based fields will become more prominent.

But, most importantly, the need for conservation, especially in capital projects, will increase as the long-term cost of fossil fuels is likely to increase.

We won’t see it today or tomorrow. But anyone that is thinking of any building improvements or new construction can expect an additional 5% cost of oil from their estimates last week.

How come its not in the press? Its good that the New York Times is talking about the environmental impact, but why is it not suggesting the need for radical conservation efforts in building and transportation use for example?

There are three multiplying effects of consumption/enterprise/policy decisions:

1. Technology applied – Buildings that means air-sealing, insulation and if you get really tight – subsequent venting of toxins, water vapor, and heat exchange. For transportation that means the cheap availability of high mileage vehicles.

2. Utilization – Buildings – Energy usage increases with surface area. Stand-alone ranches are the worst. Any utilization of shared walls, or any strategy that reduces exposed surface area saves energy. Big city apartments consume less energy per square foot, than rural hip quaint stand alone homes.

Transportation – Ride sharing, mass transit, that yeild 2.5 average riders per trip, consume 1/2 of the energy as those that put 1.25 riders per trip (current average).

3. Settlement patterns – Not much affect on buildings, except noted as utilization savings. For transportation, regional economy and designing villages/towns/cities for full employment and regional sourcing of materials and labor, result in less transportation done to accomplish the same productive activities. If the distance of the average commute reduced from 18 to 9 miles, that would save an additional 50%.

The affects multiply. If average mileage descreases by 1/2, and average passengers per trip decrease by 1/2, and if average distance per trip increases by 2, then we will consume 8 times as much energy on transportation as currently.

On the other hand, if average mileage doubles, and average passengers per trip doubles, and if average distance per trip halves, we’ll consume 1/8 of current.

And, with our decisions and polices, we could see that 64 fold swing, literally that huge.

We’ve got to learn, not ignore.

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Many individuals have commented to me that when the cost of oil increases significantly, there will be difficult economic traumas, and accompanying changes in the way that people live, hopefully to a less energy squandering lifestyle with less CO2 emissions.

I would like to believe that, but I’ve observed that the relationship between operating costs (gasoline for example) and capital or ownership costs (car payments and insurance), make that less likely to occur by individuals’ decisions.

The two largest areas of energy consumption occur in the areas of space heating (including owned residential, rented residential, and commercial/industrial) and in transportation (including personal and commercial).

In housing, a relatively energy efficient home might spend $1.25/sq foot annually on heating and cooling, or $2250/year for an 1800 sq ft home (not small, not McMansion). A less energy efficient home might cost double that, $4500/year.

In an 1800 sq foot home that costs $200,000, the mortgage payments might be $1350/mo, insurance of $100/mo, real estate taxes of $250/mo, or a total of $1700/month ($20,400/year) of ownership costs, compared to $4,500/year of operating costs, 18% operating costs.

If fuel costs doubled, the percentage of operating costs would be 30.6%

Considering the decision to make energy related improvements, the value of an energy efficient home would increase as the operating costs make it a better value. The percentage improvement in home value is likely to be a material percentage of the value of the home.

In a more affluent market, that same home might cost $400,000, with mortgage payments and other ownership costs of $3400/mo ($40,800/year), with the same $4,500 of operating costs, representing 10% operating costs.

If the costs of fuel doubled, the percentage of operating costs would be 18%.

The message is that in upscale urban environments, where most people live and own property, the proportion of savings resulting from energy improvements is much less of a concern to homeowners’ decision-making process. Where energy driven home renovation makes sense for economic purposes, say to save $1000 or $2000 or $3000/year, but it is less important than other urban concerns.

Where there is some threat to the livelihood of someone that must keep up with the $40,800 of annual home ownership costs from an otherwise rational effort to realize a simpler national life, by choice, they will opt for policies that preserve their jobs in the rat race, more than policies that result in energy independence, and all the odd policy and lifestyle distortions that that entails.

That decision emphasis is especially prevalent where so many are in such high debt. If one owned their home outright, then the decision to renovate for energy improvements would be an easy rational one. The decision stands alone and makes sense. Where people are in great debt, the decision is then to increase their debt, increasing their anxiety and dependancy on high steady income in the rat race.

A similar logic applies to auto ownership.

If one owns a car that gets 30 mpg, and costs net $6,000 originally (cost – tradein), car payments are $150/mo, insurance $100/mo, taxes $40/mo. Total ownership costs are $300/mo. Operating costs at 1000 miles/mo are $85/mo, or 22% of total costs.

If the cost of fuel doubled, operating costs would be 36%.

If one owns a care that gets the same 30 mpg and costs $12,000 originally (cost – tradein), total ownership costs are $600/mo, with the same operating costs of $85, or 12.4% of total costs.

If the cost of fuel doubled, the percentage of operating costs would be 22%.

The proportion of operating costs do not affect those owners as much. They’ve already made their decision about what is important, the nice car.

Motivations of the affluent (tending to be urban and suburban rather than rural) are ironically less driven by fuel cost considerations, and more by fashion and/or regulation.

It was a sobering revelation to me, to understand that my pet logic (increased fuel costs motivating behavioral changes), didn’t apply as much as I had thought.

It is partially caused by our savings/debt problem that allows us to buy beyond our means.

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I’ve been sick, or I would have posted earlier.

Housing – Between mortgage, insurance, real estate taxes, repairs and heating, of any category of spending, my family spends the most on housing. Housing is a minimum necessity, and we don’t really have much latitude on how much money to spend. We’re close to the minimum that similar families have to spend, and there are really only limited options to spend less.

It is possible to refinance (at slightly reduced mortgage cost, but with any front end points or refinancing fees associated, its probably not worth it. Similarly for real estate taxes and insurance. There really isn’t much that anyone can do.

The only area where one can effect the amount of money they spend currently is on energy.

I own my house (less 3/4 owed to the bank). We live in a single-family house, with only a single family living there. I chose to live in the small town where I live rather than in suburbs or more rural, to have easy transportation access to shopping, schools, work.

I could have rented, but I was told “why pay for the landlord’s expenses, gradually owning the property, why not be my own?” So, I begged a parental gift for a down payment, and borrowed the rest. 10 years later, I own still only 1/4 of the value of the house.

A long-term fixed interest mortgage, so I know what my payment will be at least. Probably at higher interest rate than currently, but its not worth to pay points to refinance and reduce.

House ownership choices and house prices are greatly influenced by the tax law. There are “attractive” features that have actually historically served to artificially increase the cost of housing rather than make them more affordable. (Home mortgage interest deductions just gets added into the reasoning of “what can you really afford”. And, in appreciating markets, the non-taxable gain provision benefits appreciating markets considerably and ends up harming stable markets. The recent “first-time homebuyer” credit exacerbates the cost of housing, enacted to soften the decline in housing prices and temporarily increase demand for homes. Of course, the feds are now suggesting keeping the credit permanently.)

Many charitable and community commitment efforts have been attempted to stabilize housing prices, particularly the community land trust model, and other similar community or shared ownership models of housing. They either rent community owned property (without the “pride of ownership”) or allow the community a first right of refusal at a contracted adjusted price, thereby reducing the gain that a house-owner can realize.

What can be done?

1. Form businesses to audit, retrofit, and finance considerable energy related investment in one’s home. (Utility audits and arranged retrofitting are a contribution, but also token. When you need to make more substantive improvements, it often requires undoing at least some of the work that the utility sanctioned audits recommended.)

Most importantly, very assertive marketing of audit and retrofit services can make a neighborhood energy-efficient rather than ad hoc house by house. It can also facilitate “group buys” of energy audit and retrofit services, at a discount.

2. Repeal the mortgage interest deduction and protection from taxation on gains, to bring down housing prices to affordable levels, and to avoid tax subsidies to regions with wildly appreciating housing costs.

3. Urge legislation to fund the “extra mile” in energy-related home capital improvements for both rental and owned housing. If we need to reach 80% energy and cost savings, why not fund it, rather than realize 30% savings with the currently economical low-hanging fruit, but then have to respend on new roofs or siding when we need to add an additional 4 inches of insulation. Why not do it right the first time?

4. Form neighborhood and/or other community associations to own real estate, rather than privately, to enhance community oriented neighborhood decisions, and to take advantage of passive tax losses.

5. Invest in neighorhood heat and energy generation. Efficiencies of heating and electricity generation are realizable at a mid-level scale, and capable of greatly reducing both carbon footprint, air quality, and inefficient smokestack effects in homes. (A neighborhood heating system delivers heat only to a home, not also combustion of fuels).

6. Buy, build, and retrofit cooperatively and in sufficient quantities to realize economies of scale in construction. (The Greenfield solar village is a great theoretical example. I’m not privy to internal cost data, so I don’t know if its realized.) Sweat equity is also helpful and serves to train and expose individuals to career options, but on the down side can result in lower quality construction.

7. On the financing end, purchasing more proportion of equity in a home (not the “no money down” approach), allows for much greater security from homelessness, allows for capital for subsequent investment in home improvements. In rental ownership, contrary to popular opinion, optimal profitability is realized at around 50% initial equity investment rather than as leveraged as much as possible.

Using other people’s money for the prospect of speculative gain, is how the bubbles are constructed, botheExposing others to systemic risk and being exposed.

But, that requires the old yankee virtue of thrift and equity, so called conservative virtues.

8. While many progressives are enamored with not-for-profit entities, I don’t recommend putting home ownership in not-for-profit entities. Towns’ primary source of revenues are property taxes, which are then excluded for not-for-profits. We are part of communities, and to opportunistically recuse ourselves from tax obligations, strikes me as corrupt.

9. For one’s sense of security, pay off your mortgage quickly. Own your home outright, or develop community equity (if you go the neighborhood cooperative route). If you pay off your mortgage and you make it energy efficient (especially if your fuel is paid for – say through co-ownership of a woodlot), then your only ongoing costs are real estate taxes, electricity, and insurance.

10. Co-inhabit. Share your house. Using my own life as an example, my kids are adults and I don’t need 1600 sq ft to live in. We would be very happy to share our house with another couple or an individual.

The role of businesses – Energy auditing, retrofitting (multiple trades), financing, ownership management (rentals and cooperatives), development (eco-villages and neighborhoods), architects, engineers, contractors, hvac equipment, neighborhood heating plant operators and administration. All requiring capital and skilled management in fairly intimate social service (that doubles as vocation).

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I’m not an engineer. The purpose of this blog is not to propose or even comment in an informed way on the state of sustainable engineering.

I do want to give a great deal of credit to the innovative engineers that have worked for multiple decades to convince other engineers, architects, planners of the relevance of a whole systems orientation in design of technologies, buildings, communities, human eco-systems (economies).

The proof is in the pudding, and there are many things that can make, or spoil, a “pudding”.

In Greenfield, MA, a local low-income rural housing authority, RDI (Rural Development Inc.) is making a pudding. It has constructed (in process) a solar village comprised of 20+ affordable net zero or near net-zero energy homes, all in a single neighborhood.

The buildings are built to 1 1/2 times the insulation requirements of the new quite rigorous energy components of the Massachusetts state building code (too often ignored sadly in inspection process). They are tight, and because of that require “extra” water vapor exhaust (fans) and internal atmospheric and micro-climate monitoring and fans to maintain safe conditions.

They contain features that allow in a maximum of diffuse natural lighting in a manner that minimally exposes the building to uninsulated skylights.

They also all contain building integrated photovoltaics on the south face of the roof of all the homes, that provides a significant portion of the average typical electrical draw of a small family. To get to actual zero-net, private families must install highly energy efficient appliances, which not every family likely will.

Its possible that some of the households will be net energy income houses.

In Massachusetts form of net-metering, homeowners may sell back electricity to the grid (up to the level of monthly consumption) at retail rates. That is not the case everywhere.

One factor that made it possible to realize a zero-net energy development was the siting. The neighborhood is on the top of a small plateau in town with no obstructions to sunlight (but also some exposure to wind). There are trees planted mostly on the north faces of homes, that also provides a shade when outside, but does not shade the photovoltaic units.

Things can change over time, as families privately plant trees.

It really is possible to reduce and/or eliminate net energy consumption. Its NOT rocket science. The most rocket science is in new recycled materials (better than wood in many cases), sensor controlled indoor climate controls (when fans turn on to refresh air, or to exhaust moisture, or to automatically draw down window blankets). But, those are NOT rocket science but simple computer programs.

They are moderate capital projects as well as behaviors, and both the projects and the behaviors must be designed carefully.

New life-skills will emerge in the modern sustainable world, which is how to enjoy and manage the “technologies”.

“Know thyself” will be important, as design is for a purpose. So, if you don’t know what you need as a family, the design won’t match the need.

Needs change as well. A family with two or three children might need a 1500 sq ft house, while a couple might comfortably need only 1000 sq ft of living space. We either design the homes and communities to be modular in some way, or we move if we are to match need to solution (a definition of efficiency).

http://www.wbdg.org/resources/bipv.php

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I don’t know stats religiously, or regionally, but from my last review of DOE statistics, my recollection is that building energy use comprised close to 40% of all the fossil fuels consumed in the US, and slightly higher in the far north of the US and Canada as well.

And, of that 40%, the vast majority was for space heating.

In 1996, that proportion of energy use domestically was in the 35% range, a large shift even in 10 years. More energy consumed in aggregate, and more proportionally in buildings.

That is occurring in spite of improved energy building codes, improved technology available including integrated systems to address indoor air and moisture issues, significantly increased per unit fuel costs, presence of federal and state tax credits for retrofits, presence of federal and state energy mortgages.

In a word, education. We as consumers/citizens, don’t really know how to live in homes, how to live in nature, haven’t bothered to learn, and those of us that do know better are to shy or inhibited to tell others for fear of being imposing.

We should impose away, in a non-imposing way.

Back to sustainability. In order to realize a steady-state carbon regime in the biosphere (which we need to do to survive meta-millenia – 100,000 years say – one glacial cycle), we need to get to a carbon cycle of consuming 15% of the fossil fuel consumption as we do now.

Some of the fossil fuel consumption is socially fixed, required for uses that are now social minimum necessities (maintainance of electric grid, water purification and other public health purposes, for example), more than 85% savings is then needed in the largest consumption areas: space heating and transportation.

As it is a capital addition in some form, with extended expected useful lives (say 40 years to a “permanent” roof), we should shoot for the lion’s share of energy improvements in capital additions and improvements that we are making now. We shouldn’t wait for the next cycle of a roof and wall system, to install the additional 8 – 10 inches of insulation. We should create institutions and incentives to do it NOW, and as a norm.

The dilemma is that it is very often economically rational to tighten up a house (low hanging fruit), insulate to the extent that it is convenient (attic blow-in, maybe 2 inches of external). At some point in a proposed construction project, at current oil prices, the next six inches is not economical currently and might not be in any normal financial turnaround time.

But, a forward-thinker KNOWS that in the cycle of home capital improvements, it will be necessary. It is likely that oil prices will increase dramatically within 20 years, if not within 5.

Thats the big sell, that requires some external intervention and support, almost charity, and the beneficiaries are mostly individuals. Its often politically hard to justify expenditures beyond what is economical, and for the primary benefit of an already house-rich individual. Its hard for government to do, and its hard even for well-meaning and well-funded foundations.

There are paths though. From the ground up there are zero-net buildings and developments being built, and not particularly expensively, one development in my home town.

The other promising approach that I see is using straw-bale or other new biotic cellulosic, or post-use cellulosic insulation envelopes outside of pre-existing structures. For example, it may be possible to inexpensively layer my 8 inches of cellulosic insulation in a combination insulation/roofing mat on top of an existing roof system that meets the moisture management criteria of a new roof.

How does it get done insitutionally, for another iteration.

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