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This Old Extreme White House Makeover

by gmoke Thu Dec 18th, 2008 at 11:52:45 PM EST

I'd like to see a weatherization barnraising at the White House.  Complete with blower door test and infrared camera like the one we had in Cambridge, MA at the beginning of December.

I'd like to see President Obama kick off the move to green jobs with a weatherization, insulation, and energy efficiency work day on public buildings.  There are plenty of repairs and upgrades for government buildings that provide immediate rewards, saving enough money through lower energy costs to pay back in a couple of years.  This is exactly where the green job economy starts.  Architecture 2030 has a stimulus plan to create millions of jobs by applying energy efficiency methods to existing buildings that would pay for itself in energy savings within five years.


from Architecture 2030 Stimulus Plan - pdf alert:

With a federal investment of $85.56 billion each year for two years, the Plan will:
in just two years,
create at least 8.445 million new jobs and
create a new $1.6 trillion renovation market
and in just five years,
save consumers $142.33 to 200.88 billion,
reduce CO2 emissions by 481.13 Million Metric Tons,
reduce energy consumption by 6.17 Quadrillion Btu,
save 1.83 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and
save 83.35 million barrels of oil.

I'd like to see President Obama bring weatherization barnraisings to the national level but, even if he doesn't, we'll continue to have weatherization barnraisings in Cambridge. The next barnraising is at a local public school and will have the help of the MIT Sustainability Club, a student group.  I can imagine weatherization and, later, solar barnraisings on one school building a month, with energy efficiency training building throughout the community.  A consistent program of hands on energy education could be significant.

from MIT Sustainability Club:

HEET, a Cambridge-based energy efficiency team, is weatherizing the Cambridgeport Public School.  We need someone who can install a few photosensors in classrooms and stairways so when it's bright enough from daylight, the lights turn off.  The person should be able to teach a few volunteers how to do this work also (safely).    

The Cambridge public school system needs help decreasing its energy use, so more of its budget goes to teachers and books, than to wasting energy.  Help us help them.  

The event is tentatively planned for January 19th, from 12:30 pm to 5 pm
Cambridgeport Public School, 89 Elm St. Cambridge

If interested, email Audrey@audreyschulman.com

HEET (Home Energy Efficiency Team)  was recently awarded a Climate Superstar by MCAN.  Check out the article the Boston Globe wrote about HEET:

Ad hoc energy education?
. yes 83%
. no 0%
. not yes 0%
. not no 0%
. neither yes nor no 0%
. both yes and no 0%
. don't understand the question? 16%
. none of the above 0%

Votes: 6
Results | Other Polls
That´s and excellent project and seems applicable almost everywhere within the many economic programs for infrastructure renovation and job creation.

Congratulations and thanks.    

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 07:41:28 PM EST
yup, what she said...

as symbolic actions go, it doesn't get better than this.

and when you're the prez, everything you do is symbolic...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Dec 21st, 2008 at 09:01:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Weatherization barnraisings are symbolic but they are practical as well.  The symbolic  weight of Weatherizing the White House is directly related to how effective the barnraising is.  That's why it's good to have the blower door test.

Weatherization barnraisings don't have to be on the White House.  They can be local and regular.  In Cambridge, MA we are doing one a month.  About 30 to 40 people show up.  We have team leaders who can teach as we work and can make a house appreciably tighter in a day.  The barnraisers then have the knowledge to tighten up their own homes.  We're going to continue doing weatherization barnraisings whether Obama picks up this idea or not.

I suspect solar barnraisings are not far off either.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Sun Dec 21st, 2008 at 11:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be interesting to get the This Old House crew in there. They could, first off, turn a $1,000,000 makeover into a $10,000,000 one.

But maybe there is some value in going through an old "house" like this and pointing out the good and bad energy-related features it might have. Possibly somebody living in a dumpy triple-decker in Roslindale could find some enthusiasm for a window replacement "just like at the White House..."

by asdf on Sun Dec 21st, 2008 at 11:28:30 PM EST
Another idea: Do a TV-show comparison of the residences of the Prime Ministers and Presidents of a handful of countries. White House versus 10 Downing Street versus (where does the French PM live?) in an energy-efficiency matchup!
by asdf on Sun Dec 21st, 2008 at 11:36:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had a friend who worked on the first solar house that This Old House did.  That was back around 1980 and was a mansion in Brookline, MA.  The second solar house they did was in Austin, TX a year or so ago.  

Producer Russell Morash is well-known as being someone who will gild the gilded lily, especially if he can take it home and put it on his own mantelpiece.

Yet, they are a brand name now and their participation would garner more interest than if they had no part in it.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Mon Dec 29th, 2008 at 12:32:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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