Marc Lefkowitz | 03/17/09 @ 11:26am
GCBL's analysis of Northeast Ohio's carbon footprint reveals that the building sector in the seven-county area contributed more than 29,000,000 tons of Carbon Dioxide equivalents, or forty-six percent of Northeast Ohio's total CO2 emissions inventory in 2005.
How to significantly lower that?
One way is to train our workforce for jobs in energy efficiency-home insulation to deep energy retrofits-and in the manufacture and installation of more renewable energy components such as tubes for solar hot water panels, where demand outstrips supply.
Federal Recovery funds will help spur the market in both, but analysts note, "fixing" the millions of existing homes through efficiency will have a far bigger impact on lowering greenhouse gas emissions than any new constructions. Creating a national standard for home energy performance, like Germany's "Passivhaus," would help the U.S. set benchmarks for buildings.
GCBL has convened working groups to focus on the region's strategies for how the building sector can lead the way to new era of post-carbon prosperity.
So far, the groups determined that near to mid-term construction rates will likely fall below the national average for new construction, however, there are a number of renovations and rehabilitations that will likely occur, especially in the next ten years. This leads to an increased focus on strategies for building renovations.
(See the working draft of the building transition plan where you can submit your ideas and feedback).
If you figure heating and cooling accounts for 50% of your home energy bill, then the Federal Recovery package's new tax credit for making your house more energy efficient delivers a big bang for the buck. The credit, applied to either your '09 or 2010 taxes (more time to save up), is $300 for every $1,000 you spend insulating your walls or upgrading windows (up to $1,500). The deal is even better for installing renewable energy systems like solar panels and micro wind turbines-there's no cap on total credits for these improvements, and they're available for a longer time-until the end of 2016.