Saturday, August 23, 2008

Big headline: Building sector key to energy and climate crisis

I know it's dating to talk of music on vinyl but I sometimes feel like a stuck record, because I have to say things over and over for about ten years before slowly everyone else starts realizing that they're true. I'm amazed by the number of times I explain to someone or other how such and such a thing is an inevitable result in a few years time, and they say "oh sure, but let's talk about this other thing," and then two years later I begin to hear them parrot my my own language back to me. And of course I never get any credit. Not that I care much about that. I was always more about doing the right thing and going my own way than getting credit for what I do. But this gets old. Mostly because you get tired of explaining things fifteen times over to the same people. Then, when they finally get it, you just have to laugh.

Having a blog is a great relief because I can say what I think and there's a permanent record. I don't know if google blogger knows the difference they have made to my life, but I'm grateful. I keep all my email for much the same reason.

Let's try to start a little catch phrase right now, and we'll see if I ever get credit for it.

Here it is. Are you ready. I'm sure this is very exciting. History being made. Heck, I'll even put it in bold.

The "energy crisis" isn't really a crisis. It's a scarcity of energy knowledge.

The oracle has spoken. And it's written down. Copyright August twenty whatever 2008. You can use it, but you can't steal it. I mean you can try, but I can always prove, I said it first!


But I'm serious about what I mean here. If I can reduce the fossil energy consumption of an old Maine farmhouse by 90% in three years for about $25 grand in my copious spare time, if Unity College, even with administrators constantly dragging their heels for the first five years (admit it!), can reduce it's fossil energy use and climate emissions by a third in 7 years for virtually no money, if Aimee and I can build a Bale House for less than $25 grand that uses only a few pick-up trucks of firewood and a little propane a year, there's no energy crisis. There's just a lot of people that don't know what to do about reducing fossil energy use.

So here's a bunch of famous people saying something I've been saying for years, essentially, that buildings use most of our energy, so we need to fix all our buildings and build only green ones. That when we've made a start on that we need to work on transport. And, when we finally get around to saving the planet, it will be contractors and tradesmen and auto and process engineers, and even the odd architect, who do most of the work. (Not famous people.)

Enjoy. By the way, all the incoming and transfer students in Sustainable Design and Technology, take note. I think you'll enjoy just a little career and job security in your lives.

And another point: I honestly believe this took so long to catch on because all these elite folks just didn't want to have to deal with the fact that to really, properly save the planet you had to:

a) know something real about topics as mundane and as blue-collar as, say building insulation or window technology
b) really study up on hard quantitative analysis. (You can't spin your way out of this one.)
c) be willing to explore boiler rooms and crawl spaces. (You can tell a lot about people from the guts of their houses.)
d) have to know some economics and apply the results of analysis rigorously. (No more soft-minded greenwash -- more and more folks can see right through that stuff every year.)
e) be willing to understand that Right Action is always constrained by ecology, physics, politics, economics, and common sense, and act accordingly. (When the numbers don't crunch, the numbers don't crunch, and there's not a thing you can do about it except to admit it and find a work-around or a better idea to begin from.)
f) be willing to practice what you preach

Not very fashionable or user friendly, is it. But it's all true. Oracular wisdom, not even twenty-five cents a bushel. Best buy on the market.

From the e-news bulletin:

Energy Independence is Within Reach
Mazria Unveils Blueprint at Historic Energy Summit

This week, at a historic gathering of industry leaders, scientists, policy experts and elected officials, Edward Mazria laid out a path for US energy independence.

The roster of speakers at the first annual National Clean Energy Summit, hosted by US Senator Harry Reid, the Center for American Progress Action Fund and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, read as a Who’s Who of individuals at the forefront of solving our energy and climate crises. Alongside Mazria, the lineup included Senator Reid, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, oilman T. Boone Pickens and President Clinton, who, in his keynote address, stressed the importance of the Building Sector in addressing climate change.

In his talk, Mazria unveiled the 2030 Blueprint, a three-pronged solution that uses building energy efficiency, homeowner choices and renewable energy to completely replace conventional coal by the year 2025 and to free up natural-gas-generated electricity for mass transit and plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles by 2030. To implement the 2030 Blueprint, Mazria calls for 1) upgrading the National Building Energy Conservation Code Standard to meet the 2030 Challenge targets, 2) investing $21.6 billion a year for five years in building energy efficiency and 3) passing federal legislation requiring an aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard of at least 30% for electricity generation.

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