Originally Posted by Oso de Yogui
Kudos to those that do what they can to save the planet! IMHO "green" is about creating new markets which is the real power of America. I work in the design/build business for an affluent local government. I see too many people trying to ram "green" initiatives down my throat without understanding the ramifications of first cost, questionable payback metrics, and unproven technologies. I prefer the term sustainability and believe that good design utilizing improved and proven technonologies like high efficiency motors and ballasts, VFD's, low water use fixtures, T5 lamps, improved building envelopes, Energy Star rated equipment, reflective roof materials, native/drought resistant plantings, ATC systems, etc.
I have a problem with people telling me I have to put a "green" roof on a renovated building when they drive away in their Hummer. Why should I pay to replace a perfectly good structure to support a "green" roof? After all, conservation of existing building materials is a part of sustainability.
Remember that typically the biggest energy use at work and at home is lighting, followed closely by HVAC. So try turning off the switch when you leave the room and maybe consider dressing appropriately for the season. Isn't it rediculous that we will eventually be mandated by code to have automated systems to turn things on and off because we don't have the real commitment to do it manually!
Don't even get me started on the maintenance challenges presented by some "green" technologies! Guess which department suffers budget cuts first!?
I still believe that a Manhattan type project for alternative fuel sources is truly viable and that industry will continue to make improvements that will make some of the offered alternatives first cost and life-cycle cost effective.
In the meantime I'll use the steps instead of the elevator, recycle, turn off the lights and TV when I leave the room, only burn my Christmas lights for a few hours an evening, put a flannel shirt on when I'm a little cool, and get nekkid when I'm hot.
Conservation MUST be first...it is the one area with the quickest payback in terms of both energy and cost savings.....
I am interested in better understanding your comment...I definately believe you sould push back on anyone who might be "ramming" a particular solution down your throat that may not have the quickest payback UNLESS it is purely for marketing purposes of incenting the "greenness" in your community..we call these demonstration projects.....of course, in business we should be considering the most cost effective and costs saving solutions first...that is how we survive in business...and there are PLENTY of opportunities out there for us...particularly in my industry of hospitality!
And I agree...sustainability is a great term...to me living "green" means necessarily living sustainably. I also agree that the degree of our success will largely be determined by how effectively we embrace the concept you describe as creating new markets by creating new solutions that are truly more "green" or sustainable!
I was surprised to hear that lighting was highest energy use in the home...I would have thought it to be refrigeration and HVAC.
I also strongly agree with your suggestion of a "Manhattan Project" type effort focused on development of alternative energy design and technology...
We, in the U.S.,need to learn to lead in the area of sustainability rather than to continue to follow the Germans (solar, wind), the Norwegians (hydrogen fuel cell) and the Japanese (gas-electric hybrid).....High-paying, high-skill, technologically-oriented jobs is what we need..this is the perfect market to develop for this for the U.S. as we have lost the lower-skilled, old-style manufacturing jobs to other places in the world with cheaper labor markets.
It is notable that the Germans are way out front in solar...and yet they do not have that much sun or wind in Germany..they will NOT get the best, direct payback by implementing those technologies...they just understand the power of getting out ahead in terms of practical experience as these markets open up for them across the world...they will reap the indirect payback of being the technological leader to others..!