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I agreed to publish this here because it is such a different perspective then the one I have or CES has. We tend to blame builders for not just serving up top notch energy efficient residences. Then there is the issue of retrofitting. As always this is no endorsement of Ryan or his Real Estate firm. Believe me I have no intention of buying a home in Alaska.

 

Ryan Tollefsen REALTOR®
Unity Home Group at Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group
101 W. Benson Blvd. Suite 101
Anchorage, AK 99503

Check out my all new Great Alaskan Getaway Guide

http://www.constructiondive.com/news/more-buyers-want-green-homes-real-estate-agents-say/439944/

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Now, a “green home” really isn’t all that green when observed on its own, but the fact
remains that most of new construction and existing homes are going to be detached
single-family residences. This means that we need to do the best we can with the hand we
have been dealt, and that would suggest that incremental improvements across the board
may be the best option in terms of reducing waste. Recent trends in US real estate have
affected what buyers are looking for in some positive ways, but there are still far too few
green homes available for buyers who want this option.!That makes it a frustrating search
for potential green home buyers, and discourages them from truly setting their sites on a
home that works for them. Additionally, because they aren’t making their voices heard,
many builders are not working to make homes that meet green specications (beyond the
bare minimum). They don’t realize the level of demand that would be there, if buyers felt
they would have the option.
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More Buyers Should Push for Green Homes
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There’s really one way to remedy the issue: buyers who want green homes should push
for them across as many channels as they can. If more buyers continue to ask for green
homes, more builders will produce these homes out of necessity. But buyers need to be
the catalysts in both demand and advocacy aimed toward other potential green buyers.
More of them want green homes, but they back down when they see these homes aren’t
available. Builders and sellers both need to know the value of creating these kinds of
homes or making changes to existing homes, so buyers will be more likely to purchase
those homes instead of other options. This might mean more negotiations with sellers and builders, and it will likely come at an increased cost — costs that will likely be recouped over time, but another upfront cost nonetheless.
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What are Buyers Looking For?
 /
When the average buyer!wants a green home, they don’t necessarily require one that’s
completely off grid. Some buyers will seek these out, but most will be looking for energy
efifciency, sustainable materials, and a smaller carbon footprint than what would be seen
with a standard house. In many cases, that’s enough to entice buyers to make a purchase,
and to keep them happy with the home they have selected. It also depends on the area of the country and the local market, because some buyers want and need different options due to weather or other factors.
 /
More Demand Will Require an Increase in Supply
 /
The more buyers start asking for green homes, the more likely it is that builders will create them. Sellers will also start making changes to the homes they are putting on the market, in order to entice buyers to come see their home instead of a different one. That’s an important consideration, too, since sellers may need to retrofit their homes in some ways and add options that they would not have chosen to put in if they were remaining in the house. Some green living changes can be expensive, but these changes don’t always have to be costly. There are lower priced options, as well.
 /
Trends are Moving in the Right Direction, at Least
 /
Even though there are still far too few green homes, and even though buyers aren’t making their voices heard as loudly as they could, the trend of green living is still going in the right direction. More buyers see the value of it, and more builders and sellers are starting to make changes in that direction. There is still a long way to go before energy efficiency and reducing waste becomes the standard for new homes and improved existing homes, but a larger pool of buyers demanding these features can help move the needle bit by bit.

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Go to the web links and read. More next week.

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I was going to post on many things. There was the list of the most affordable cars or the robot that got inside of Fukushima nuclear power plant or even dissecting the new report from Rick Perry’s Department of Energy’s on renewables effect on the power grid. Still I have never heard of solar power on a train before, so this is what they say.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/indias-ageing-trains-green-makeover-solar-panels-130432410.html

AFP

India’s ageing trains get green makeover with solar panels

AFP 4 hours ago

India has added solar panels to the roof of a train in a national first as it tries to reduce its massive carbon footprint and modernise its vast colonial-era rail network.

The lighting, fans and information displays inside the train — once powered by diesel — will run off the sun’s energy after the panels were fitted to the carriage.

The train has begun journeys around the capital New Delhi, helping move just some of the 23 million passengers who use India’s rail network every day.

“We will be inducting at least four other solar-powered trains in the next six months,” Anil Kumar Saxena, Indian railways spokesperson, told AFP on Wednesday.

Batteries charged by the solar panels during the day take over if there is no sunlight, Saxena added. Only as a last resort, if the batteries perish, would diesel be used.

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I wonder what happens when they go through a tunel. Anyway, go there an read. More next week.

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Residential energy conservation has stagnated somewhat in the last 3 or 4 years. I do not know what the dampers are, whether it is price or attitude for instance. New houses are a lot more efficient but the efforts to improve existing housing stock have stalled. Here is an article about those latest techniques.

http://www.nyserda.ny.gov/Energy-Efficiency-and-Renewable-Programs/Residential/Emerging-Technologies-and-Accelerated-Commercialization.aspx

Emerging Technologies and Accelerated Commercialization (ETAC) in the Residential Sector

Opportunities to achieve energy-efficiency gains in the residential sector beyond traditional building and retrofit techniques have been limited by underutilization of emerging technologies that are commercially-available, but face barriers to widespread adoption in the industry. Technologies and techniques such as solid state lighting, lighting controls, home energy management systems, smart-grid integration, micro-combined heat and power, and super insulation have proven benefits. But they have seen limited market adoption, due to obstacles such as upfront costs, consumer and builder awareness and the lack of infrastructure support, including activities such as supply chain development, sales training and installer certification.

The ETAC initiative seeks to address the barriers to market acceptance by facilitating in-field demonstrations and the subsequent technology transfers. Widespread, large-scale demonstrations will incorporate these technologies into energy-efficiency projects, where the savings potential will be monitored and validated. In parallel, other marketplace needs will be addressed, such as the development of a training curriculum for designers and specifiers, installer-certification standards, consumer-education materials, and maintenance processes. Following the demonstration period, results will be communicated to the marketplace via various means such as case studies, presentations, and webinars.

While this specific initiative is focused on emerging technologies in the residential sector, NYSERDA will also demonstrate emerging technologies for the multifamily and commercial/industrial sectors through parallel ETAC initiative

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Go there and read. More next week.

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This was sent to me by the Destiny USA management. I agreed to run it because they seem to have done a good job. CES can not endorse comercial endeavors nor should this be considered a commercial advertisement as we have received no money to perform this task. When folks do good for the planet we reserve the right to talk about it.

http://www.destinyusa.com/green

History of Destiny USA

 

Carousel Center opened its doors on October 15, 1990 after several years of land redevelopment and renovation on the shores of Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, NY. The super-regional shopping center was developed on a former Brownfield site; one so ravaged by environmental negligence that the New York Times[m1]   called it “a kind of monument to 20th century environmental arrogance, its future written off by government and business alike.”

Robert Congel and Pyramid Management Group welcomed the responsibility of this cleanup after drawing up plans to build a new shopping center in Syracuse. Originally, plans were created for a different location but Mr. Congel redirected his attention to “Oil City.” It was an opportunity to cleanup the lakefront disaster and make it the thriving economic engine that it is today.

Destiny USA is continuing to build upon Mr. Congel’s history of projects that improve Syracuse environmentally. This project is taking a path of leadership in the commercial retail industry by cooperating with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC, USGBC on Destiny USA)[m2]   to get its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) for Core and Shell certification. After meticulous work, the USGBC deemed the 1.3 million square foot Core & Shell expansion its LEED® Gold Certification on February 6, 20

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I mean really if they are going to drop their insistence on solar panel installations as part of a retrofit then why keep the name? Are they now a software company or are they now a software and then install whatever company? Good questions with no answers. It would be like Tide if it were to stop making soap and started making dishwashers. Would they keep the name and why?

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/a-peak-at-solarcitys-new-energy-efficiency-software?

Has SolarCity Created the Amazon 1-Click for Energy Efficiency?

 

“We believe SolarCity has the best database of residential energy use of anyone in the world.”

 

Stephen Lacey: June 28, 2013

 

After SolarCity shifted its energy efficiency strategy and pulled back from doing residential retrofits in-house, the solar services behemoth is moving straight into intelligent efficiency.

 

GTM’s Eric Wesoff recently reported on SolarCity’s evolving business plan and the resulting changes that company executives say will scale residential efficiency in the same way solar services have scaled residential solar.

 

But solar is very different from efficiency. For the most part, solar is very standardized and installations are uniform from home to home. Efficiency retrofits encompass an extraordinarily broad category of activities and skills. Incentives are also quite different for efficiency, making it more complicated from a financial perspective. That’s why only a handful of U.S. solar contractors have offered efficiency as an in-house service.

 

SolarCity decided that doing the retrofit work itself was not the best way to scale. Instead, it has turned from manpower to the power of big data.

 

The secret sauce is a “simulation engine” that shows homeowners exactly how much they’re spending on energy everywhere in their house. The initial database was created using information from 16,000 home energy audits performed over the last five years. It relies on an algorithm developed at the Department of Energy that crunches 100 million calculations per home for each individual energy efficiency audit (which is still performed by SolarCity when installing solar).

 

“The simulation software looks at every component in a home in relation to one another,” said SolarCity COO Peter Rive. “Every ten minutes, it thinks about what one thing is doing and about its effect on the rest of the systems within the home.”

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Other things have not changed. I mean we are still burning coal to fuel electric generators, 30 years after we should have stopped. We still flirt with the idea of Nuclear Powered power plants. But here is part of the Georgia Code, a State not known for anything progressive.

http://www.southface.org/learning-center/library/res-code-faq#24

22.    What is the difference between a mass wall and a basement wall, and what are the insulation requirements for both?

A mass wall is a heavy wall that is more than half above grade wall and is constructed of a fairly massive material (e.g., concrete, block, insulated concrete forms, masonry cavity, non-veneered brick , adobe, compressed block, rammed earth, and solid logs). A basement wall is a wall that is more than half below grade and encloses conditioned space. Insulation requirements for basement walls and mass walls depend on the location of the insulation and the type of insulation (whether it is continuous or insulation installed in a cavity). Requirements also vary by climate zone. Below is a table detailing the insulation requirements in the energy code.

Wall Type Insulation Location and Type Climate Zone 4 Climate Zone 3 Climate Zone 2
Basement Wall Interior – Continuous R-10 R-5 R-0
Basement Wall Interior – Cavity R-13 R-13 R-13
Mass Wall Interior-Cavity R-13 R-13 R-13
Mass Wall Exterior or Integral- Continuous R-5 R-5 R-4
Mass Wall Interior – Continuous R-10 R-8 R-6

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If you are a glutton for punishment, go there and read. More next week.

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Carol Kneedler, who runs CES’ website, forwarded this to me and I thought it was a good way to plug her business. Thanks Carol for all you do.

  • O3 Internet Consulting

    Owner · Jul 2007 to present
    I create websites that are beautiful, practical and functional. In short, they work.

http://ksmu.org/article/small-ozarks-farm-provides-innovative-example-sustainable-living-50451#.UNoqJWCh7_Y.facebook

Small Ozarks Farm Provides Innovative Example For Sustainable Living

 Article | | By Shane Franklin

One farm in the Ozarks is the location of a series of unique experiments in sustainable living.  If these experiments prove successful, it would greatly affect the future of sustainable technologies and how people think about building their homes. KSMU’s Shane Franklin had the opportunity to tour the farm, and has this story.

Rockspan Farm, the home of Dan and Margy Chiles, is unique in so many ways. They wanted to build a farm that could be an example to others, and a test lab for experimental technologies they’ve been personally developing over the years.

“We are trying a number of new technologies here to make houses more efficient and to make a livable space without having to burn a lot of coal.

 

http://www.danchiles.macmate.me/rockspan/RockSpan/Home.html

RockSpan maps and overview

RockSpan is the name for our 12 acre farm and house in western Greene County, Missouri.

 

The project is the West end of Division street, 11 miles from Springfield, Missouri.   The colorful plan below shows the family farm: approximately 227 acres outlined in red with a possible land use plan.  Our 12 acres are inside the larger farm.

 

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Go there, read and see all the pretty pictures. More tomorrow.

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Yes I know there are many things that are wrong about Las Vegas. People shouldn’t even be there in the first place. The rape of the river that no longer reaches the sea. The rape of the pristine desert and the death of many Native Americans. I lived there for a year and there is also the cheesy nature of the culture. But when they do something right, you got to give them credit.

http://www.homeenergy.org/show/article/id/1811/viewFull/

 

Nevada Energy Star Partners Demonstrate Peak Performance (Web Only)

September 01, 2012

Las Vegas may appear balmy and inviting with its sparkling pools and swaying palm trees, but those who live in Neon City know the truth: It’s too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.

Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of homes that were built during an amazing 50 years of rapid growth in the Southwest do not incorporate modern advances in energy performance to accommodate the wild swings of desert climate. As temperatures climb to 110°F in the summer, many homes leak large amounts of cooled air through gaps in ducts, roofs, windows, and doors. And when the frigid north wind drops the temperature below freezing in the winter, heated air escapes, leaving living rooms and bedrooms uncomfortably cold and drafty. While Las Vegans know their climate, they may not realize that they are paying to heat and cool the great outdoors.

The dramatic temperature shifts in the high-desert climate make Las Vegas an ideal place for homeowners who are looking to make their homes more comfortable and to save substantially on their energy bills. Funded in part by DOE’s Building America program, the Building America Retrofit Alliance is working with the Nevada ENERGY STAR Partners–Green Alliance (NESP–Green Alliance), and with Better Building Performance, a Las Vegas company, to upgrade two typical homes top to bottom. Their goal has been to show homeowners and remodelers how easy and effective energy performance upgrades can be.

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Go there and read. More Tomorrow.

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When I first saw the headline of this next site, I thought: can this be? I had heard of actual corn cob houses in rural America. They are basically slatted walls filled in with corn cobs and then finished inside and out. They are sort of a variation of hay bale houses. But this is way different.

http://www.livingoffgrid.org/building-a-cob-house/

Building a Cob House

By Off Grid Ebert

In a time in which we are increasingly hearing scary statistics about the fate of our planet, the way forward in the field of sustainable, green building may just be to go backward.  This is certainly the case for people demonstrating a growing interest in building earthen homes and structures using an ancient method known as cobwork or cobbing.  Cobbing, believed to have originated in the Maghreb as early as the 11th century, spread into wide usage across many parts of the rest of Europe as the main building style for homes.  The name of this style of building comes from the word cob, which is the name of the building material itself, formed of a mixture of earth (such as clay, sand, and other soil), straw, and water.  Despite what the materials may imply, this substance, when dried, is fireproof.  It is also inexpensive, and naturally cool in the summer heat and relatively easy to heat in the winter.

Many homes built of this material centuries ago still stand and remain in use.  Pictured here to the left is a cob house in England, believed to have been built in the late 1700s. (Photo by Tim Green, http://www.flickr.com/photos/atoach/4927564858/) These homes typically have thatched roofs, while small but efficient fireplaces with chimneys provide warmth when the weather is cold.

The appearance and texture of cob varies from region to region, depending on the available natural resources and their characteristics.  As such, cob is one of the most versatile building materials on earth.  It can be molded and shaped into whatever form is framed by the builder.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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All these new builds include some form of solar planning. Either in orientation, or window protection, or solar electric generation, the sun is never far from these planners minds.

http://www.hgtvpro.com/hpro/green_building/article/0,3142,HPRO_27916_6024083,00.html

Five Models of Energy Efficiency: A Guide to Beautiful, Energy-Efficient Homes

Five US builders are being honored for their exceptional achievements in high performance building at the second annual BASF Builders Challenge Awards.

Led by the U.S Department of Energy (DOE), the Builders Challenge is working with homebuilders across America to build a new generation of high-performance homes, working toward the ultimate goal of providing cost-effective, net-zero energy homes by 2030 for all Americans.

To qualify for the Builders Challenge, homes must meet at least a 70 on the EnergySmart Home Scale (E-Scale) — which means they must use at least 30 percent less energy than a typical new home built to code.

2010 BUILDERS CHALLENGE AWARDEES
Colorado Builder’s Net-Zero-Energy House Costs Just 7% to 8% More

Ecofutures Building Inc. developed four certified Builders Challenge homes (two with minus-three HERS ratings). These net-zero-energy measures represented only 7% to 8% of the total building cost.

See how they did it so cost-effectively >>

Treating the Home as a Whole System

By treating houses as a complete system, David Weekley Homes qualified 280 homes for the Builders Challenge with HERS scores averaging 67. The homes ranged from 1,500 to 5,500 square feet.

Get better results by treating the house as a whole system >>

College Students’ Habitat for Humanity Home

Yavapai College students built a Habitat for Humanity house that achieved the remarkably low HERS score of minus-three. Their 1,207-square-foot home cost only $92 per sq. ft. cost to build.

Learn how the students got it done >>

Homebuilder Adds Net Zero Energy Upgrade Package

Artistic Homes of Albuquerque offers a net-zero-energy upgrade option on all their homes. They’ve completed and sold 11 true net-zero-energy homes ranging from 1,305 to 2,905 square feet and costing between $160,000 and $300,000.

Find out about the upgrade option >>

Builder Promises Zero Energy Bill for Five Years

Tim O’Brien, a fanatic about eliminating air infiltration, actually got $400 back from the utility the first month after construction was finished. He guarantees a zero energy cost for the first 5 years on his home.

See what makes this builder so confident >>

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More next week.

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