R. Christopher MathisAs smart as we are, we are failing to plug the holes in our ship. Buildings (homes and commercial buildings) consume over 40% of our nation’s energy – more than any other sector of our economy. Reducing their energy consumption is easy. Most of these lessons we learned during the post-embargo days of the mid- to late-seventies. And most of the technologies needed are BORING. Insulation. Air sealing. Better windows. Duct sealing. Water heater blankets. More efficient appliances, furnaces and air conditioners. BORING.
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R. Christopher MathisOur local utility wants to build a new nuclear power plant. And it is hard for us to put our arms and minds around the size of the numbers. They estimate $17 Billion for a plant that will produce about 2000 MegaWatts of power. Big numbers. Hard to envision. So let’s break it down with a simple comparison to energy efficiency.
R. Christopher Mathis“Sustainability” and “green” are have joined “paradigm shift” as the most used and least understood words in our lexicon. Everybody knows what THEY mean when they use these words. But the absence of common definition leads to marketplace chaos and acts as an impediment to achieve the objectives implied. So what is green building?
R. Christopher MathisEnergy inflation is regressive in the extreme – it hurts our nation’s poor first and worst. As the price of home heating and cooling and electricity goes up, our poor are disproportionally harmed. Typical “middle class Americans” spend, on average, about 3-4% of their income on energy. Surprisingly, those living at or below the poverty line spend 15-19 %. These folk are not deciding between paying their energy bill or going to the movies – they are, instead, deciding between the energy bill and the food they will buy for their kids.
Massachusetts was under pressure to achieve higher code performance among mounting calls for additional stringency in the building energy code, linked to the desire to reduce energy costs, cut dependence on imported fuels, and address concerns about climate change and national security. Towns and cities asked for the ability to adopt their own stronger energy code, and/or proposed legislative changes to allow municipalities to strengthen their building code and zoning options. In response to this, the BBRS, along with the state’s energy and environmental agencies, decided to create a set of high-performance "stretch codes" in order to meet demands for a stricter code without having multiple standards in different cities and towns.
The following is taken from a public affairs radio program entitled “Our Southern Community” hosted by Ned Ryan Doyle on WNCW 88,7FM, Spindale, North Carolina (www.wncw.org). Mr. Doyle’s guest (on February 17 and 24, 2008) was Chris Mathis, president of Mathis Consulting Co. in Asheville, North Carolina, a building scientist and internationally recognized expert on energy efficiency and sustainability. He is the author of the new book The Insulating Guide, published by Building Science Press, and a frequent contributor to numerous builder and consumer publications on issues of building performance.
MANIFESTO: Early on in its deliberations the IgCC drafting committee embraced a founding principle – the principle that green buildings, buildings to be built under this code, must perform.
Submitted to: The North Carolina Governor's Office, North Carolina State Energy Office
Compiled by: Mathis Consulting Company Edited by: Appalachian State University Energy Center
October 1, 2009
In June of 2008, The National Governor's Association awarded North Carolina $50,000 towards this state's effort to increase energy efficiency and conservation in all buildings by accelerating and improving compliance with the existing Energy Code and by ensuring that new versions of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) are adopted by the state in a timely fashion. With that money, and the state's matching funds of $27,250, a code official training program was developed and conducted across the state.