NEOPOR foam, and introduced Serious fiberglass windows with a U-value of .15 (i.e., WAY better than Energy Star). I was proudly describing all this to a realtor, whose only comment was: “Yes, but you’ll need some green features if you want to attract buyers.”
O.K. – So I exaggerate a bit – but their point was that I needed to have some identifiably green materials for homeowners to see and to show off. Things they understand, like bamboo flooring, and concrete countertops. Yet the entire “embodied energy” of all the building material of a residential structure typically accounts for only about 10% of the total Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), or environmental footprint of the building. What accounts for the 90%? Operating energy. Saving energy is by far the “greenest” thing a builder or homeowner can do.
Dr. Steven Chu, US Secretary of Energy, energy efficiency is one of the lowest cost options for reducing US carbon emissions. It can save both energy and money. Don’t get me wrong, I do endorse the “do no harm,” and cradle to cradle concept for materials, but I am just as interested in the durability of that material. Because if the house is built to be energy efficient AND durable (maybe even outlasting its mortgage!) then these energy savings can compound into the future.
The DOE is taking on the challenge of developing a strong retrofit industry and recently announced an innovative effort called "Retrofit Ramp-Up," which will tackle whole neighborhoods at a time. Their support roll-out includes field-application energy savings software for home inspectors, training for weatherization and instrument support for infrared inspections to improve the quality of work. For those of us who have waited for the resurrection of this “enlightened” approach since its political demise in the 70’s - THANK YOU, Dr. Chu.
NEOPOR used in ICFS