There’s some interesting stuff in the most recent issue of the energy newsletter The Northwest Current.
Well, interesting if you’re an energy policy geek (like me). My faves: this article on the Clark County utility’s conservation programs; this one on low cost opportunities for efficiency in the industrial sector; and this one on how power planners are trying to solve the technical problems associated with adding o the electricity grid.
But even the non-geek can get excited about this: a new registry of energy efficient homes that are up for sale.
Apparently, the Portland-area Multiple Listing Service—which lists all homes on the market in the metro area—plans to start including information on each home’s energy efficiency features. So prospective homebuyers will be able to search for homes with a high-efficiency furnace or double paned windows, or ones built to LEED design standards.
Nifty—it’d be nice to see this idea catch on! (And, boy, do I ever wish that had been around back when I was house-shopping.)
This is good news, except for one thing.Green ratings tend to help consumers think they’re using less energy. However, most ratings systems, including Energy Star, rate “efficiency” (energy used per cubic foot, say) rather than consumption (e.g. the actual number of kilowatt-hours used), when the thing that really matters is the latter.The biggest driver of consumption is the size of the appliance (or house). You can get an Energy-Star rated fridge (or house) that consumes 2 or 3 times as much energy as a non-Energy Star one of more modest scale. There’s a story about the conundrum of Green McMansions in the current E magazine about this.The only certification program I’ve found that vigorously applies scale as a factor is LEED for Homes. That’d certainly be an impressive spec to see on a house.