Monthly Archives: December 2009

Lobby for Building Stimulus

There’s a great plan put forward by Ed Mazria of Architecture 2030 to use stimulus funds not for public works, where they do not generate additional tax revenue or leverage a lot of jobs, but for energy efficiency measures in private buildings.  Ed originally prposed the challenge to architects and engineers to reduce energy use in new construciton by 50% by the year 2030, hence the title.  This latest proposal is an extension of that, and it makes a lot of sense.   Money used to reduce energy use in homes would allow the mortgage to be renegotiated and for example paid off faster from the savings in utility bills.  Meanwhile a huge amount of jobs would be generated, property values would rise, and the energy security of the country be improved.  Why not go to the website and lend support by clicking to send letters to representatives?


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First frost – climate change

We had our first frost of the season last night. It’s December 1st – the “normal” first frost in this area is around October 20th. The zinnias were still in bloom in October, maybe into November. That’s a semi-tropical flower, that has no right to be flowering so late in the year. As a gardener I have seen the seasons change over the last twenty years – not a long time even in human history, but not a mere few years either that can be written off as atypical. When I first moved out to the country, forty miles or so from here and higher in elevation, the frost depth was reputedly down to five feet – that was how deep people had buried water lines in order to be sure of them not freezing. That would be a joke now, it’s probably a while since we had freezing down to three feet anywhere in this region.

Mike Rivero of lives in Hawaii –  no wonder he can be a climate change denier.  There are no appreciable effects in such areas.  But people who live in colder climates, who have seen these changes themselves, how can they be in denial.  Regardless of whether we agree on the causes, it’s real, it’s here.  Glacier National Park was named and set aside because it had glaciers.  Now there is only one.  How come ?  Did someone misplace them?

Global warming, climate change, seems obvious to me – and appears to have reasonable, logical causes.  But even if we are unwilling to accept that reason for trying to lessen our use of energy and production of greenhouse gases, there are other good reasons to build Green.  convincing reasons why we have to build much more efficient homes, right now.  Buildings last a long time.  They cannot be easily upgraded, or simply scrapped, turned in for this year’s latest model. 

We in the US are simply not going to have access to cheap energy on the scale we use it now.  Oil is peaking, there will be less of it to go around while other countries are increasing their demand for it.  Politically and economically we will not be able to consume many times more than people in other countries.  Our children and grandchildren will have to adapt to a very different world order,  a different way of  using resources.

My house is a certified Green house, its OK as far as it goes.  The sad thing is that it is still a rarity.   We need to do better.  Much better.

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