I first started Energetic Building based on hope.
I hoped that homeowners can educate themselves on all the benefits of having an energy efficient home.
My blogs can inspire them to start working on their deep energy retrofit projects. Homeowners can be so inspired as to get their homes net zero energy ready. Or be excited about affording a smaller PV system based on the reduction of their home energy consumption.
I hoped that builders can overcome their resistance to change.
My newsletter articles can inspire them to question their common building practices. Builders can recognize that there are better practices out there to achieve high performance in houses. Double stud walls can become the norm. And such things as building a continuous air seal to cover the thick insulation can be in the minds of many a builder when they pick up their hammers.
I hoped too that buyers, lenders, and appraisers assign value to energy efficient houses because they see the energy-savings payoff of having them.
They can feel the comfort when they walk into an energy efficient home. It’s an untold sense of security and protection like being in the arms of a loved one. There is quiet and peace there. And in that moment of time and space, everything is under control. It makes sense that when all these things are under one roof, we would have a higher home sales price.
Yet, there is resistance to improving the performance of our homes.
High performance costs money up front for the homeowner. Builders don’t want to change and they argue that houses have been built this way for years. And the appraisers? Energy efficient categories are not a part of their house appraisal reports.
And that’s when I remember what Red famously said to Andy in the movie ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. I’ll never forget it.
He said, “Hope is a dangerous thing.”
If you’ve seen the movie, I’m sure you remember the story. Andy was imprisoned for murdering his wife and lover – a crime he didn’t commit. He was an innocent man that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. His only crime, as he said, was that he loved his wife but didn’t know how to show it.
Now, Andy was a man defined by his circumstances. The system rejected him. He was then placed in a prison full of murderers, burglars and other criminals. He himself was tormented by rapists.
He was imprisoned in a world that seemed out of his control…
Until he turned into a criminal.
In those extraordinary circumstances Andy made a choice. To quote another famous phrase in the movie, he either had to “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.” He chose to live, and found his way out.
You see, despite being rejected and forced to live in a prison cell, he decided to build the house he will live in. He chose to live the life he wanted to lead, instead of having to live the life that had been chosen for him. That was his focus – to be free.
Here’s my point. Do what Andy did. Take control of your circumstances. Be self-reliant.
Someone once said that there’s no greater satisfaction for man than to be self-reliant.
Control and self-reliance is what I want for you.
Specifically, take control of your energy future.
I know what you’re thinking. Irving is crazy.
U.S. crude oil has been trading at around the $60-a-barrel mark for several weeks. Citing new supply from U.S. shale oil, analysts at Goldman Sachs have slashed their long-term price forecast for Brent crude oil, the benchmark for international oil prices.
Oil is cheap and will be for the next few years.
Some analysts are saying that the oil price can fall back to $40 or $50 a barrel, and that it stays there for two or three years.
Yay! No worries, right?
If that happens that may impair production capabilities around the world. And then, any increase in oil demand will likely move the oil price to the $125 or $150 level. Financial experts understand that the lower the price goes in the short term, the higher it will rise in the long term. And due to the rising global population and rising personal incomes around the world in the coming years, we are looking at an unstoppable rise in demand for oil.
Hmmm… what I’m getting is:
We can’t control the markets.
The cost of energy in the future is going to reach unheard of proportions. When that happens, your lifestyle will be changed for you, either by Peak Oil or Climate Change. Your life will be much different than it is today.
Many people no longer trust that we will have enough of the same energy in the future. Everyone is seeing the cost of gas and electricity go way beyond normal. Many people are aware that Climate Change is real and want to do something about it.
It’s time to take control of your own circumstances.
It’s time to take control of your life. And your life is your house. There’s no better feeling of satisfaction than taking back control of your life. And there’s no better feeling of comfort than having taken care of your home.
For several years now, we were misled into thinking that we can’t afford a solar generating system. It was out of our reach. Costs keep coming down since then, making it possible to buy such an energy system. Even so, corporations want you to buy based on the present level of your home energy consumption.
That can be unrealistic.
But no more.
You can realistically lower the energy consumption at home. You can get it down to a manageable level first before you buy a PV system. Then you can look at other ways to generate energy with very little or no cost – free energy!
This is doable.
And you have help. Go to the website: http://www.dsireusa.org/
Find your state and list of programs for your situation. There’s information on incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency where you live in the U.S. The government is willing to pay you to help solve the energy problem, whether it’s really their problem or yours.
Start educating yourself. If you plan to build and hire contractors, you can hold them accountable to make sure your goals are met. You won’t have to worry about hiring the wrong contractor. You’ll know if your house is built right.
Then take note of where you use the most energy in your lifestyle. Start educating your family. Make them aware of the coming changes you are planning. Examine your utility bills to see when you use the most energy. Work towards solving problems. And add value to your house.
Appraisers may lack the knowledge of energy efficiency features in homes. They may also lack market data showing how these features influence the home sales price. They have been traditionally conservative in giving benefits to high performance homes.
But, this is now beginning to change. Appraisers are being more knowledgeable in this area… because you are.
You are creating the movement to establish new methods of measuring and labeling the energy efficiency of a home. More and more of you are recognizing the importance of individually reducing your carbon footprint by reducing your home energy use. This is where you can make a difference.
Remember, Andy took life for granted and it was taken from him. He lost a comfortable life and found himself in a hapless situation. Yet, he continued to hold onto hope. More importantly, he took back control of his own destiny.
Take control of yours.