Energy Efficient Homes
        The ideal energy efficient building retains the best environment for living while minimizing the consumption and waste of energy. © Crook 2006                The biggest source of clean cheap energy is energy not used. R. Muller, Foreign Policy, Nov 2008                If you don’t understand energy efficient technology it’s probably because it’s based on principles of thermodynamics, physics, and rocket science. © Crook 2010                When you install an alternative energy system without first reducing your building’s demand for energy you ‘re still wasting energy and foregoing comfort--You've put the cart before the horse. © Crook 2011                An energy efficient building is always "Green" but a green buildings isn't always energy efficient. © Crook 2009                "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction", Sir Isaac Newton's "Action-Reaction Law", 1687                The transfer of heat between objects can never be stopped: it can only be slowed down. © Crook 2008                It's always easier to get into something than it is to get out.                Clean coal refers to coal with less particulants/pollutants. Clean coal when burned, unless SEQUESTRATED spews CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) into the atmosphere causing pollution. What does "clean coal" and "pork the other white meat have in common? Both are half-truths and both have the propensity to make you sick.        

ROI and Energy Saving Building Envelope Improvements


Posted 05/04/2011 by Siti Crook

Before you hire someone to mow your lawn, or cut the grass yourself, do you calculate the return on your investment (ROI)? 

Cutting the grass requires human labor, equipment and money and no sooner is the task completed than it’s time to do it again. A return on this investment is seldom if ever realized, unless you own a golf course, and yet week after week, year after year Americans mow their lawns.

Why do people that own buildings and homes that waste energy unnecessarily and who suffer with high heating and cooling bills want to know the ROI for energy saving building improvements? 

What’s wrong with this picture? How have some people’s priorities gotten so skewed?  Hum, let’s see, a pretty lawn or—comfort, affordability and freedom from dependency on foreign oil? Ahhh, the winner, a pretty lawn!  Everyone can see your grass is getting long but energy efficiency is invisible to the Jones.

If your home is looking shanty because it needs a coat of paint do you check the ROI and leave it-as-is if the numbers don’t look good.  If your old dishwasher breaks and the ROI to repair or get a new unit is poor do you wash dishes by hand?

It’s one thing to obtain competitive bids for building improvements but isn’t it hypocritical to base energy efficient building envelope improvements on the ROI if you continuously mow your lawn, repaint when it starts to chip and peel, and rely on a dishwasher to clean your dirty dishes.

We have been in the energy efficiency business for more than 25 years and we are routinely asked about the return on the investment for energy saving building improvements. Often times the people that ask for the ROI are the same people riding gas guzzling, emission producing lawn mowers week after week, year after year.

Someone needs to enlighten me by explaining what constitutes a good return on investment for energy efficiency since comfort, affordability and a reduction in our dependency on foreign oil doesn’t seem to enter into the equation for many. 

For decades  energy efficient construction practices with code enforcement in the US was lax or non existent. We are now paying the price.

Before you ask about the ROI on energy saving building envelope improvements ask yourself these questions.  Will my income increase faster than the price of energy?  And, if I don’t reduce my building’s energy consumption will I be handing over my discretionary income, if I’m fortunate to have any, to the energy companies?

Your decision to reduce your building’s energy consumption shouldn’t rest with ROI calculations. Energy giants employee energy risk actuaries to calculate how much of your money they can take. Chances are they’ll win, especially if you don’t reduce your consumption. The choice is yours.



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