Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
The article about triple-deckers suggests the scale of the problem.

They have gone into a few old buildings, gutted them, replaced all of the mechanical systems, and made them into practically modern buildings. I have lived in Worcester; most of the triple deckers there were built between 1880 and 1920 and are in bad condition. They need a LOT of work to bring up to modern standards.

But the cost numbers do not come close to working out. And the number of such buildings that would need to be retrofitted is huge. And when you're done, you are still not close to zero net energy with gas furnaces in the basements.

I recently obtained an estimate to replace the conventional HVAC system in my small house with a heat pump, it came to $30,000. That is far beyond the financial reach of almost all of the property owners in the neighborhood. The payoff time at current utility rates approaches a century.

The scale of the problem is still not internalized.

by asdf on Thu Mar 25th, 2021 at 10:15:41 PM EST
Energiesprong (https://energiesprong.org) has developed a pre-fab system for retrofitting old buildings to near net zero.  They've been working for the last few years in the EU with success and have begun working in NY state recently.  My understanding is that the wider variety of building styles in the USA has given them some difficulties and the program has not been as successful as expected but they are still working on it.

Jimmy Carter's 1979 energy plan called for insulating 90% of our homes to higher standards by 1986 so at one point we had the ambition, or at least Carter did.  The earliest Green New Deal legislation called for making all public housing net zero energy within 10 years, at least in the draft I read.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Fri Mar 26th, 2021 at 06:43:24 PM EST
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