Drastically reducing GHG emissions from the existing residential buildings stock remains one of the biggest challenges to achieving a decarbonized energy future. Many homeowners want to “go green” and reduce their carbon footprint for the good of the environment. Others are motivated by reducing their monthly utility bills. Whatever the reason, taking on a whole-home decarbonization retrofit project is more complex than simply replacing old lightbulbs with LEDs.
We keep hearing about devastating storms, like hurricanes and tornadoes, destroying homes and buildings across the country. We see that no building is safe. In 2019 alone, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that there were 14 weather and climate disaster events with monetary losses exceeding $1 billion dollars in the United States alone.
Total Energy Pathways (TEP)
For homeowners interested in home energy retrofits, there are a variety of issues they must consider, such as weatherization, HVAC, strategic electrification, and solar photovoltaics. This can mean hiring several contractors, and coordinating multiple schedules.
By now we’ve all heard that buildings are a big energy user and emit a large proportion of greenhouse gases in both the U.S. and the world. But do buildings need to be a climate change problem? How can off-site construction be part of the solution?
I spent one recent Sunday night going to my storage unit to get a box full of dress clothes. Working from home the past two years, it has been over 14 months since I last attended an in-person conference and even longer since I have put on a suit jacket. I was very appreciative to attend the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) BuildingEnergy Boston 2022 conference hosted recently at the Westin Boston Seaport District. Even with masks, it was great to see all the attendees, most of whom I have only seen in a little square box on my screen.
I can remember when my twin and I used to run around our home as children, turn off all the lights, unplug all the appliances, and scream, “saving electricity!” While I do not know the origin of why we started doing this, I am sure my parents enjoyed saving some power. Years later in university, I learned about all the work that goes into “keeping the lights on” and having the grid run efficiently.
I’ll be honest – I didn’t think that home insulation would be a holiday party conversation for me just six months into my being at NEEP, but I was wrong. I was having a group of friends over in December, and when someone mentioned that they recently worked with a home energy auditor for free I immediately said “oh my gosh, through the Mass Save program for renters??” So yes, my party had it all! Cookies, drinks, and very informative conversation about weatherization assistance.
This blog was co-authored by Andy Winslow, Public Policy Associate, and Bryan Evans, Residential Program Associate.
Fifteen years ago, thinking of the future inspired thoughts synonymous with anything from the Jetsons - flying cars, smart technologies throughout the home, and Rosie the robot helping with daily chores.
The new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reminded us all of the urgent importance to address climate change. We must rapidly ramp up efforts to decarbonize all industry sectors, make them more resilient, and prioritize sustainability.