Stepping Forward

Despite the economic downturn - especially in the housing sector - the New York Times reports that new building projects in some of the towns outlying New York are using more and more energy efficient methods.

“We had heard that it was not going to be economically feasible,” said Liam J. McLaughlin, the Republican minority leader on the City Council, who heads its Environmental Policy and Protection Committee. “Then we talked to other developers and municipalities and found that the added expense is not that great.”

At least one stabilization wedge can be found in efficient building construction. In this case, geothermal power is being used for heating and cooling - but it can be as simple as better insulation and seals, or the addition of a computerized smart-grid that can better manage power. And kitchen appliances are more efficient than ever, and easily cataloged by the Energy Star certification.

And this is where it should start - in government buildings, in libraries, in the places we work. These projects are directly funded by the government, and can serve to show a whole lot of people what efficient buildings can accomplish - if we take the steps to tell them.

We'll look at what LEED certification (one of the standards for environmentally-sound buildings) means in the future, but for now, this observation: more than anything, our reach for efficient building methods has been a reach into the past, not the future, for our ancestors electricity-free methods of heating and cooling.

A good step forward.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if you saw this -- passive houses being built in Germany with no furnace what-so-ever. It can be done!