ADKCAP, The Wild Center’s Adirondack Climate and Energy Action Plan, recently hosted a sold-out workshop to contractors, code officials and homeowners about key steps to retrofitting your home. If you missed the workshop or if you just want to refresh your memory, videos of the workshop are now available online.
Martin Holladay, a Green Building Advisor, noted in August 2009, “To achieve the carbon reductions needed to prevent a global ecological catastrophe, almost every house in North America will need a deep energy retrofit.”
So-called ‘deep energy retrofits’ can achieve 70 – 75% reduction in energy use over the more traditional retrofits that typically see a 5 – 15% energy use reduction. Greg Pedrick, Project Manager for NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) in the Building R&D Sector, led the workshop using four residential buildings that underwent deep energy retrofits coupled with the typical homeowner initiated projects such as window, siding and/or roofing replacements to substantially improve the building envelope as examples. The training presented billing data before and after the work was completed, as well as costs of the work involved. Pedrick is an engaging speaker and makes the information understandable to a wide audience.
“This work is inspiring, because everyday people can do it, and it does not require Senate hearings, Judge decisions or EPA rulings, to enable it to happen,” said Pedrick. “Just tenacity and willingness to work hard, and salvage what you have.”
Pedrick hopes this training will:
Provide independent/step function solution to dependence on fuel, which is typically NOT a local commodity
Improve overall air quality, health and well-being of both the building and the inhabitants
Create work force opportunities to improve existing housing stock, while reducing energy use
“In the U.S. homes are the most defective products consumers purchase,” according to Tedd Benson, of BensonWood Timber Framing and keynote speaker at The Wild Center/ADKCAP Build a Greener Adirondacks EXPO in April 2011. “Consumer Reports found a 15% serious defect rate in new homes studied, and an Orlando Sentinel investigation, found a more than 80% serious defect rate in new homes analyzed.”
“This type of training, and the online videos we created for those who missed the workshop, helps and inspires both the homeowner and the contractors in our region with the real hands-on information they can put to work immediately using standard construction skills. The Wild Center and its ADKCAP/CEEM (Community Energy Efficiency Management) project aim to provide practical ideas about sustainability and environment-friendly economic approaches,” said Stephanie Ratcliffe, Executive Director of The Wild Center. “At the end of the day it is the little and big changes that we all make that add up to real change. What I enjoy most about this aspect of our work is that it helps the planet and saves money over time.”
The Wild Center has modeled – through its “green” facilities, educational programming, and conferences – how science museums can help to disseminate environmental solutions. For example, buildings use an estimated 30% of energy in the United States, thus increasing green building design and retrofits has huge potential for economic savings and job development. The Wild Center is Silver LEED certified for its green buildings and educates visitors through a tour of its green design on site and online through its website.
ADKCAP is a partnership of The Wild Center and 30 other institutions in the region. ADKCAP works through existing organizations around the region to implement a proactive strategy to enable the Adirondacks, approximately 20% of the land area of New York State, to improve energy and cost savings within the region. To heat and power itself the region currently uses more than 46 million gallons of fuel oil and LPG, and 925 million kWh of electricity annually, draining $263 million a year from struggling economies of the region. Investing in local efficiency helps to keep that money in the region. The Adirondacks are nevertheless a model of conservation for the nation and are positioned to lead in establishing a “green” economy.
ADKCAP’s Community Energy Efficiency Management (CEEM) project, which co-sponsored this event, is working to support the Towns of Moriah, Schroon Lake, and Long Lake to inventory energy use of municipally-owned structures, transportation & residential buildings, make a plan to identify and prioritize energy saving opportunities, explore financing options, implement energy saving projects, and track energy savings. The “deep retrofit” model has been shared widely in the Adirondack region through CEEM.
For more information visit www.adkcap.org.