energy_rater_laOctober 25, 2012

Across the United States, the Green Building Council has helped thousands of developers win tax breaks and grants, charge higher rents, exceed local building restrictions and get expedited permitting by certifying them as "green" under a system that often rewards minor, low-cost steps that have little or no proven environmental benefit, a USA TODAY analysis has found.


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Why not put it in the link box?

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 5:18PM
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didn't think of it.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 5:21PM
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When starting a thread the opportunity to use the Optional Link URL box doesn't appear until you are in the Preview Mode.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 6:20PM
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A younger architect once asked me why I hadn't gotten my LEED certification and without thinking I said I still liked to think of myself as an honest man.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 6:23PM
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I understand.
hopefully people will get the real story
on LEED certification.
same as greenwashing products IMO.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 7:13PM
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Interesting article!

This is something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I'm really interested in building a tight, energy efficient house....but also want to put lots of windows on my north facing walls where the view is. I know the two are competing ideas. I may even put in a vaulted (gasp!) ceiling in one of our rooms. I'm trying to decide where the line between energy efficiency ends and aesthetically pleasing begins.

There seems to be so much hype and profit made with energy efficient products- just want to make sure I'm not getting 'bamboozled' with some of the stuff on the market now.

Thanks for the link!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:18PM
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So LEEDS is pretty much a load of pretentious codswallop easily manipulable by canny private interests to transfer their tax burdens to others.

After LEEDS was introduced in Canada, the Canadian Homebuilder's Association examined the energy efficiency section and concluded that "in many regions, LEED-H minimum or 'prerequisite"'requirements are at, or below, current and proposed provincial Code requirements."

It didn't get into how dedicated parking spots for massively subsidized hybrid vehicles save anything.

The sad fact about all these centrally devised energy guidelines and, in the case of Building Codes, mandatory rules, is how they fail to predict technological and economic changes that render their commands pointless. Aside from all the money they create along the way for regulatory bureaucrats and associated "green" energy entrepreneurs.

For instance, as any energy investor well knows, "fracking" has driven down the cost of natural gas to barely more than one fourth its cost a few years ago. Yet the mandatory insulation and air change per hour rules have gotten more and more costly. (Leave alone the Passivhaus fanatics.)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:13PM
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Just because LEED has its issues, doesn't mean you shouldn't build an efficient house. And just because NG is cheap today, it doesn't serve the interest of society to build a poorly insulated house.

Kelhuck - the view at times has to dictate everything. All you can do is try to compensate for it. Solar orientation is so great because it doesn't cost anything. But you can have a huge wall of North facing windows and still have an efficient house, it is just going to cost you.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 5:09AM
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"it doesn't serve the interest of society"

ALL HAIL "the interest of society."

Who gets to decides?

Your betters?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 3:28PM
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you can still build an efficient house.
it is actually in your best interest to
invest upfront in efficiency.
as utility costs rise, having an affordable
comfortable house is important.

making educated choices in things you don't 'see'
like better insulation packages, windows with
low shgc & ufactors, right sized efficient
heating systems are things that effect
everyday comfort. and affordability.

the thing that brought it home to me..over 10 years ago..
believe it or not..was another rater who
bragged about promoting milk paint. (low voc..blah blah)
at twice the price of a good
interior latex paint, and half the life
I couldn't see the reasoning for this 'green'
in cases where chemical sensitivity it would
be a good option, but for the average homeowner..
why? just to have 'green' product?

imo the public is often mislead about the viable
options as to what saves money..and what doesn't.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 3:46PM
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Energy.....although I am not educated in this "new to me" LEEDS, my DH would have agreed with some of your observations. I remember his telling me about someone who came to him for advice. This person was wondering what was wrong with his house..he had plugged up every possible place any air might enter, but forgot that a house needs to "breathe" also.. Also so many wanted to put in a far over-sized furnace and AC...bigger is not always better. I wonder how many years we will have to live to be able see a saving in the light bulbs we are going to be forced to use.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 10:57PM
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Worthy - you live in a command and control economy that most here can't imagine (except maybe CA). And Canada does some totally wacky things. But that doesn't make building codes bad and society value should be taken into account when a house outlives its residents....

Now - the government requirements are basically taking up the slack on the resale market where people don't seem to care about energy use or costs. So yes, the government is acting as "Your betters".

Phoggie - houses really don't need to breathe. People need to breathe and fresh air needs to be provided for that. This "house breathing" mentality is for the most part wrong.

60W equivalent LEDs at $20 a pop are about a 5 year payback if turned on 10 hours a week (totally neglecting that they outlast incandescent bulbs by 50 times). CFLs at $2 a pop are a 5 year payback at 1 hour per week. Admittedly there are bulbs on less than 1 hour per week and there is a long payback for those, but in balance, incandescents make no sense or cents.

Like the house itself, the bulbs will outlast you, so there is a society benefit....

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 9:04AM
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David_Cary, I have to question the "payback" on CFL bulbs. The only way they can possibly payback the cost is if the bulbs actually last long enough to make the payback. DH and I used CFLs throughout our new house. We moved in just over 2.5 years ago and already I'm starting to find myself having to replace replace CFL bulbs on a pretty regular basis.

I would say that in my old house, with incandescent bulbs through out the house, I probably replaced maybe one-quarter of the bulbs each year... which translates into an average life span of 4 years for incandescent bulbs the way WE use lightbulbs. If CFLs really lasted 50 times longer, then on AVERAGE, my CFL bulbs should last 200 years. Since these were ALL brand new CFLS when we moved in 2.5 years ago, there's no way ANY of them should have burned out yet but I've had to replace a half dozen in the past 6 months.

Could it be that in "test situations", bulbs are turned on and left on for an extended period of time before being turned back off whereas, in real life we OFTEN turn bulbs on and back off again in a minute or less. For example, when I stop into the bathroom to wash my hands, I only need the lights on for like 30 seconds. When I need something out of the closet, I'm seldom in there for more than 30 seconds at a stretch. If I hear a noise outside, I may turn my porch light on for 20 seconds or so to check it out. When someone wants to turn on a particular light but hits the wrong switch, they often turns lights on and back off in 2 seconds. Did the folks who decided these CFLs had such long lives ever actually use them the way real people do????

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 10:02AM
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Worthy - you live in a command and control economy that most here can't imagine (except maybe CA).

I'm a refugee from the Imperium during the midst of its 1965-73 devastation of SE Asia; I file US federal and Hawaii tax returns, so I'm well aware of the command and control unencumbered State. And that was long before the US President's Tuesday morning "kill" lists.

Society is not the state. Government is not society, nor it is somehow the condensed voice of the "peepul" whose ultimate expression is the Imperial Presidency or Prime Minister and Cabinet. In a republic or a constitutional monarchy, society is the totality of the arrangements of freely choosing individuals.

The notion that politicians in the pocket of special rent seeking interests, economic and ideological, and their bureaucratic minions know what is best for the rest of us in the long run is a logical contradiction. They exist for the momentary advantage, the next election, the next newscast, the next photo op. The paternal mindset that easily elides into a dictatorial system presents only one "truth", one way, one choice.

In a free society, "social benefit" is what people and institutions choose, not what government dictates.

That's in contrast to the current model: "All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state."

If CFLs and LEDS were so great, people would freely choose to install them and "save" energy over say, having a more enjoyable light and saving money. I bought into the CFL arguments years ago. In my experience, they last a fraction of the time they claim, especially if used in closed fixtures, and/or switched on and off when you enter or leave a room, for instance. They cast an unattractive light and on an overall cost basis--energy and lifespan--are more expensive than incandescent.

Prescriptive Building Code dictatorships have run the same way.

So-called energy savings Codes gave us polyethylene vapour barriers while remaining silent on the disastrous EIFS. Recommended supersealing retrofits resulted in tight houses saving energy while sickening and killing homeowners.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 11:59AM
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I'm in total agreement with David.

my first cfl bulbs were $15 each. lasted
12 years. the last round of cfl's were
5 for $10 and I changed most of then within
a year.
some are going on two years..
I think it is a quality control thing.
the first cfl's were made in usa
the last ones..china.
outsourcing to others may bring prices down
but does little in terms of quality except to
lower it.
I have lights that I never turn off.
front light on house, lamp in living room.
other lights are on all night..back of
house light, bathroom light.
testing methoods aside..the way we use lights
differs greatly. look at the difference between
above poster's light usage & mine for one example.

I've followed a few of your posts. glad to see
you entering home streach of your build. I know it
has been a difficult few years for you.

its a common misconception about houses needing
to breathe. most older homes are so losely built
that the house is taking huge gulps of breath.
as we pay attention to materials & air sealing
& build tighter, then verification of tightness
is needed. blower door testing determines how
many air changes per hour a housc achieves.

in many homes the homeowner thinks the house is tight,
but testing shows differently.
things like sealing sole plates, making walls air tight
to both interior and exterior and sealing penetrations
from attic and crawlspace are what is necessary for
house to be 'tight'.

rather than the house get its fresh air to 'breathe'
from holes in ceilings at recessed lights..to control
where this fresh air is entering, clean the air,
measure what is allowed in to the house and in the case of
high humidity areas..dehumidify the air before it enters
the living space..this is the solution.

sucking air from attic, brings attic temps, insulation
particles and dust into the house.
never a good thing.

have a good weekend everyone &
best of luck.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 12:01PM
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"its a common misconception about houses needing
to breathe."

Breath may not be the best description, but as structures have become more and more tightly sealed 'sick building' syndrome has arisen.

Now we go back and install the ventilation that was inherent previously as 'leakage.'

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 2:53PM
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much better in my opinion to dedicate a pathway
for fresh air. rather than have it filter thru
insulation, bringing whatever else is in the leakage
site into the house.

clean the air, measure amount of air,
dehumidify the air..and then it enters the house.

it is a good thing, for houses that are tight
enough to require it.

as houses are all different, there are different
causes for sick house syndrome

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 4:12PM
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LEDs last 50 times incandescents (CFLs never claim 50) and they have very little issue with on and off. I have over 50 LEDs in 2 houses and have never changed one. One is a vacation rental that is continually occupied.

Cheap CFLs can have terrible light and terrible life expectancy.

LEDs are forever....

My wife won't have CFLs for the most part but she has zero issue with LEDs (except strangely in bathrooms - and I have to agree with her).

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 9:23PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We built green but didn't give a fig about leed or other certification. We put our money into what fit our lifestyle (retirement, low maintenance) and our outlook for ever rising energy, medical insurance and tax expenses...only one of which we think is controllable.

So we are happy in our smaller home, along with the lower tax and insurance and cleaning and furnishing expenses. We are happy with our electric bill at $15.85. We are happy waving at the oil trucks as they drive by our place and never stop. We are happy that we don't need to heat or cool our lower level and that it stays temperate all year. We are happy to have our house gain 4 degrees in temp in the winter just from the sun.

Leeds? fuggetaboutit. Build green to gain energy efficiency and lower long term costs of running your house? Absolutely.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 8:18AM
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This may or may not have already been properly explained.

The old adage that a building needs to "breathe" is still true but it does not refer to air movement; it refers to the need for moisture to escape to the outside in high humidity conditions.

Since moisture vapor will eventually move to a drier location through vapor permeable materials, interior moisture was not a major problem until insulation and vapor retarders were added to exterior walls.

Now excess moisture often cannot be effectively controlled even with mechanical ventilation so mechanical dehumidification must be provided.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 10:15AM
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Well stated, Renovator8, I think this is exactly what DH was referring to with that house I was speaking about....you stated it much better and with more knowledge than I did...thanks for the clarification of tis matter.

What is the best way this can be treated in a new build...since I do not have DH to ask anymore?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 3:36PM
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"much better in my opinion to dedicate a pathway
for fresh air. rather than have it filter thru
insulation, bringing whatever else is in the leakage
site into the house."

We had so MANY problems doing it that way.

Even the vainted EPA had to close down one of it Washington, DC buldings after 'new' methods resulted in moisture problems and molds that produced hydrocarbons irritating to the occupants.

Years of chasing 'outgassing' problems caused by inadequate ventilation and water leakage.

The un-renovated buildings built nearby (across the street & up the block) at the same time had no such problems.

But they made it better.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 10:45AM
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