Aspen Skiing Co. Director of Sustainability Auden Schendler, right, talks with Bear River Bar & Grill Manager Julian Bristow after his presentation, “Great Hope, Great Fear: Climate Change and Meaning,” during the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s Talking Green Lecture on Tuesday night at the Bear River. Schendler signed copies of his book, “Getting Green Done: Hard Truths From the Front Line of the Sustainability Revolution,” after the event.

Photo by Jack Weinstein

Aspen Skiing Co. Director of Sustainability Auden Schendler, right, talks with Bear River Bar & Grill Manager Julian Bristow after his presentation, “Great Hope, Great Fear: Climate Change and Meaning,” during the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s Talking Green Lecture on Tuesday night at the Bear River. Schendler signed copies of his book, “Getting Green Done: Hard Truths From the Front Line of the Sustainability Revolution,” after the event.

Sustainability expert: 'Standard approaches aren't enough'

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— Aspen Skiing Co. Director of Sustainability Auden Schendler told a Talking Green audience Tuesday night that it would take “radically different things” to solve climate change.

Schendler, the keynote speaker during Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s inaugural lecture series event of 2012, presented several sustainability projects Ski Co. has completed in recent years. They included a collaborative effort to build a utility-scale solar field and another to retrofit natural gas boilers to make them more efficient.

“I submit that the standard approaches aren’t enough,” Schendler said. “Recycling is important, and we should do it, but it’s not enough. Plastic bag bans are important, but they’re not enough. We need to totally rethink what it means to succeed.”

Schendler, who spent summer 1990 living in Steamboat and working for Lockhart Auction & Realty and the Space Station, said addressing climate change means thinking differently.

Ski Co. was one of 700 companies to help alter the way global products manufacturer Kimberly-Clark got its paper fiber for Kleenex brand tissues, Schendler said. He said Ski Co. also worked to change the local energy board in an effort reduce the utility’s carbon output. And he said Ski Co. partnered with the nonprofit Protect Our Winters and professional snow sports athletes to lobby in Washington, D.C.

After his presentation, Schendler said the single greatest thing Steamboat could do to impact climate change was making the green building program mandatory for residential construction.

Steamboat Springs Planning Director Tyler Gibbs, who attended the meeting, said that because the city and Routt County partner in the development review process, making green building standards mandatory would require a collaboration between the two. But he said it “absolutely” could happen.

“I think our goal in planning and development with the city is certainly making it easy to do the right thing,” Gibbs said.

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Food and Beverage Director Liz Wahl said she was motivated by Schendler’s presentation. Wahl, who helped start many of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.’s sustainability efforts, said the record turnout of more than 100 local government officials, business owners, community leaders and residents helped illustrate that she’s not alone in fighting a battle to become more green.

Like Wahl, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council coordinator Kim Kline said she was inspired to act. “I think (Schendler) spoke to us as a community and individually,” she said. “I can take his call to action individually and go forth.”

Kline added that she hoped the entire community would be called to action this year.

Schendler said Steamboat would have to play its part to help reverse “flagrantly warming” temperatures that helped the U.S. break all records for extreme weather events in the U.S.

He said it’s up to all of us.

“We know how to solve climate change,” Schendler said. “It’s scary, but we have all the technology on the shelf today to solve it. The problem is you’re dealing with human beings. And they are messy and complex things.”

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

ybul 2 years, 2 months ago

So here is a radically different thought process... our government policies are helping to create an unsustainable world in which we live in.

The largest is an ag policy which pays for production of three primary cash crops. This has caused health problems, from the continuous production of certain crops in the same manner killing microbial life and strip mining the soil so that the food produced is depleted of nutrients. This policy has also created a loss in top soil (sequestered carbon which is now in the atmosphere through oxidization). This policy has facilitated any monkey to be able to perform the job at hand. Whereas agriculture is probably the most complicated business there is and we throw are least educated at it typically.

Throw in government intervention through tax breaks to encourage people to save for retirement, creating cheap capital for those able to capitalize on that. Throw in fannie may and freddie mac which facilitated banks lending to people for "super sized" homes that consume more energy.

Many more ways in which the government has intervened to distort market forces which would have led us to a more sustainable world than we are at today with that government intervention. Maybe extracting the government from many of its current endeavors would lead us to a more sustainable world.

How is that for radical?

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ybul 2 years, 2 months ago

So here is a great talk on radically changing our thoughts by Mike Rowe of dirty jobs.

http://www.ted.com/talks/mike_rowe_celebrates_dirty_jobs.html

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rhys jones 2 years, 2 months ago

You know I don't normally resort to links (or read them) but this one on "sustainability" caught my eye.

http://xkcd.com/1007/

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Ybul, great link! Thanks for posting. I would add to your comment about ag policy not just the focus on three primary crops, but the illogical avoidance of developing perennial ag crops. If we spent as many research dollars in developing perennial hybrids as we do in GMO-Pesticide/Herbicide-Fertilizer closed loop, we could produce a lot more food with a lot lower cost. I understand there's no profit incentive but when you weigh in the costs of health care (how much medical care will an obese child need over a lifetime?) maybe the bottom line isn't so bad.

Star, your link was good for a smile!

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ybul 2 years, 2 months ago

I completely disagree that hybrids would produce more food.

Strawberry farmers uproot their plants about every 4 years and replant with young plants. Those young plants grow faster and produce more. IMO, the same goes for grasses and young plants have higher yields. So the trick is to allow your grass to put on a seed head and have that seed trampled back into the soil (the cows cloven hooves are designed for just that as the buffalo is) and your crop yields will rise.

On lowering the cost I think if we can migrate back to a local food shed with less hands in the pot then that will happen and those farming might just make a decent living. Though that is entirely what Mike Rowe is speaking to, in that we have made agriculture an undesirable profession to be in and we push the less intelligent people to it.

Toss in multi species grazing with crop rotation produce being grown on the same fields different years and you are going to have far higher crop yields than even worrying about hybridization.

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Ybul, I meant the big three monoculture crops, but whatever it takes to grow healthier and more abundant food with fewer inputs and ground disruption is all good!

I think Ag is undesirable to folks because it actually is too difficult to do well. You really have to understand your ground, your P/L scenarios, the weather, your product, your markets etc. Less intelligent people are found in every profession, no pushing necessary :-)

I'm still dreaming of a CSA sited at Legacy Ranch which could provide a great laboratory for locally-produced marketable foods. Do you have any demo plots you are developing? Are you involved with any of the Ag Alliance Ranch Tours? I'd love to see what you are up to. You have intriguing ideas.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 2 months ago

The history is ag has long had distribution as a key issue. A farm can generate an amazing amount of food, but getting the food to the consumer has been as big of a challenge as growing it.

So the recent history is large corporate food processors being more efficient, but with modern communications that is changing. It is not that hard for a local store to manage buying local produce. That no longer requires a guy calling 20 different farms depending upon what is needed. The store/restaurant can simply manage their inventory and have their info systems place orders with the various local suppliers. And the local suppliers can have info systems stating what is available today and

Ybul can probably talk about how now hay farmers and ranchers are more likely to directly sell to each other and how the hay broker has far less control of the market than in the past.

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Jeff Kibler 2 years, 2 months ago

Ybul knows a lot of things about agriculture, and I'd like to learn more.

Even I picked strawberries as a kid but was fired after the first day.

My folks were corn and pig raising Iowans that moved to Washington to build Boeings then cook burgers East of the Cascades.

The wheat ranches in Eastern Washington are so damn huge. As large as his ranch, one rancher used to light up his hot air balloon.
He had a cannon on board. Canonballs? No, beer cans filled with cement.

Those pleasant projectiles were ground into your Oroweat bread.

That sums up my knowledge of agriculture

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ybul 2 years, 2 months ago

Still working on stuff. Plan on participating in events in the future. Hope to plant more produce this summer (though primarily only those which grow here easily - trying to work with nature not fight it).

Though there is enough "new" things being experimented with right now - just trying to overcome the regulations that exist. Right now that is the putting in a septic system (more money which I do not have enough liquidity for) and not having to over design a system that is going to not handle much more than a little detergent and a little bleach - though the goal is a high temp dishwasher, $, which will eliminate the need for most harsh chemicals).

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ybul 2 years, 2 months ago

Scott, the biggest point of efficiency and consolidating factor was the ease with which corporations were able to borrow and print money via stocks. Making capital far cheaper for them than anyone else in the marketplace.

Another key component in distribution is the craig grain elevator which was bought and will most likely not exist as a supplier for the oil/gas fields is using it to distribute product more inexpensively.

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Ybul, keep on keepin on! Have you checked out SBDC etc. for free advice about how to find vulture capital etc.? There's also the SCORE, which I think is still free, which might provide some different possibilities to get you moving forward. Maybe internships with CMC's new sustainability program?

At a minimum I think we all need a weekly column from you!

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Scott, there is another aspect of corporate ag which affects distribution, that being control of all parts of the process, including contracts which provide capital, seeds or stock, fertilizer, pest control chemicals, and a guaranteed purchase of product at a fixed price. I had a friend years ago (single mom) who was approached in this manner to set up a CAFO for hogs, but reading the fine print for her it was not a good deal for her.

Point being, the seed sources for our major food crops have been reduced to around 8,000 species, and a handful of corporations control them, to the point now of patented GMO seeds and jail time for unlucky neighboring farms if any fertile patented DNA migrates into their fields.

When fewer and fewer companies control more and more of our food supply (which is reduced to fewer and fewer varieties) we all lose. That's why I'm such a big fan of locally grown food. It also means we can cultivate varieties of crops which still taste good, since they don't have to be shipped thousands of miles. Remember when apples used to taste good?

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rhys jones 2 years, 2 months ago

Jeff -- Was it that kind of job where, when they fire you, you say THANK GOD!! I've had those, though usually it's something I said.

Which gives me a CAPITAL idea: How about a backspace for the mouth? Where you can just suck the words back in?

You heard it here first. So I've got the rights. But I need investors. This ain't no "house" scam, but something REAL. We'll pipe your words through your pocket gizmo, maybe. It's early, still in development, barely minutes old. You can help us get RICH.

We're gonna need a hefty start-up -- gimme a call!!

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bubba 2 years, 2 months ago

I find it hard to take the Ski Co's 'sustainability director' seriously. He is proposing 'radical' thoughts, like mandatory green building code and simple things such as fees on plastic bags, while his employer just successfully lobbied to impose a tax in the town to raise money to ensure more jets come to the valley. So his suggested measures are highly visible programs that will not cost his employer anything, but do enable them to proclaim how green Steamboat is in the adds trying to entice people to buy a plane ticket to get here.

If the ski corp is so interested in 'radical' solutions, I would encourage them to take a look at the amount of pollution from a single jet plane that they are so dependent on for their livelihood. If they are more interested in sustainability as a marketing tool, which it is pretty clear they are, I would encourage them to find 'radical' solutions that are on their dime, not the citizens of the valley who are already forced to pay a portion of their customer's airfare.

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Bubba, Mr. Schendler is the sustainability director for Aspen Ski Co., not Steamboat's Ski Corp.

I don't know if Ski Corp. has anyone in that position.

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bubba 2 years, 2 months ago

Oops, guess I skipped over the first paragraph and just assumed they were referring to our Ski Co when they said Ski Co, not their Ski Co. Maybe it would help avoid confusion if they refer to Aspen Ski Company as ASC. Oh wait, never mind.

Either way, the point is the same, we can do lots of small feel-good things like ban plastic bags and require green building techniques, but that does not change the fact that our economy (as well as Aspen's) depends on jet travel and second homes that sit vacant much of the year. As long as this remains the case, these small initiatives are just lipstick on a pig.

I remember a few years ago there was a study that determined Aspen has the highest per capita carbon footprint of any city in the US. Which makes sense, since there are many large homes that sit vacant 50 weeks of the year, very few full time residents, a fleet of private jets at the airport and a fleet of pickup trucks swarming up the valley from as far away as rifle every day for work. I wonder if Mr Schendler's position was created in response to that study, and if the city has managed to change their ranking.

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seeuski 2 years, 2 months ago

WARNING: WARNING: IGNORE THIS MESSAGE AT YOUR OWN PERIL! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2093264/Forget-global-warming--Cycle-25-need-worry-NASA-scientists-right-Thames-freezing-again.html

When will people stop believing that they can manipulate the climate? Go ask the sun.

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exduffer 2 years, 2 months ago

If you were to condense Mr.Schendlers job description into one sentence it would read "make us rich folk feel good about ourselves".

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ybul 2 years, 2 months ago

See - sustainability is not just global warming (though I mostly agree with the thought process that most climactic change is comes from off this planet -58 at a neighbors house last winter and no sun spots vs this year many and large and warmer temps).

The government subsidies for grains have depleted our top soils, nutrient densities in foods and others. The soil depletion puts us at greater risk of flooding, famine and other problems. The nutrient depletion and cheapest calories at the fast food outlet have caused the health care nightmare in this country.

Both issues are of far greater importance than climate change - new name means we are more likely heading towards mini ice age, imo. with many issues surrounding that as much food comes from places like Canada which could cause world wide famine. Cooling is a far bigger problem than warming, imo..

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

At least when the pig is wearing lipstick, he is thinking about improving things around the place. That's better than doing nothing.

I attended the talk. It was short on solutions, but the message was motivating. It also means something when Steamboat folks gather around an idea. I'd guess there were 60-70 people there.

I'm not up to date, but Aspen has made an effort. There is a tax on huge square footage trophy homes. The article lists some other successes. What is Steamboat Ski Corp doing? Supporting Liz Wahl and recycling. Wind powered Burgess Creek.

What is Steamboat Springs, the City doing? The last I can recall was Steve Ivancie pushed them to have a LEEDS certified Community Center in 2007.

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sledneck 2 years, 2 months ago

Duffer got it just about right.

What I read was: "We want to yell "Global Warming" in a crowded theatre while selling "get-out-of-theatre" tickets to those who can afford them. Everybody else can burn..."

"Climate change is serious enough for us little would-be Napoleons to run your life right down to your grocery bags but not nearly serious enough for us to stop turning those massive electricity-burning ski lifts."

"Global warming is going to kill us all but I'll be damned if I will move away from a climate that requires me to burn fossil fuel 300 days / year or import 90% of my food from across the globe."

"Environmental Sustainability is the salvation of the Church of the Holy Environment. Economic sustainability, on the other hand, can kiss my A**."

"Affordable housing is important. However, it's better for poor people to live in cardboard boxes and freeze than allowing them build a house out of 2x4s... no that will never do... it's 2x6s or cardbaord for you, poor folks!"

Bunch of elitist jackwagons. And they don't even have the guts to call it "Global Warming" anymore. "Climate Change" has happened for millions of years and now that there's a buck to be made and some power to be grabbed, all of a sudden it's a problem.

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seeuski 2 years, 2 months ago

ybul, I have no problem with keeping my planet as clean as possible, that is not the intent of the alarmist AGW chicken littles, their intent is charging the USA for carbon usage until we have no more "superpower" remaining. The "spread the wealth" plan on steroids. If you take a look at the big picture with regards to energy, this terrible POTUS has set the system up so that our natural resources are extracted by our counterparts, namely the Chinese, and such that we must purchase our sources from the people who hate us. Why is it that we invested in Brazil's drilling but now we learn that Brazil is contracting with China for oil sales. And Obama nixes the XL Pipeline as China becomes the next buyer, and China is starting drilling operations off the coast of Florida. Under Obama we took down our defensive missile shields in Poland and Alaska and we gave our missile technology secrets to the Soviet Union. Somehow we had 2 drones land in enemy territory one in Iran and Obama asked, pretty please, for it back. Iran is working on missile systems in Venezuela. We are being set up and all this Climate Change crap is one part of the big puzzle. In order for the Global Governance gang to have their ability to take full charge they must defang us of our power. If these Globalist climate gurus like Al Gore loved the earth so much, why do they live like it's 1999? There is no such thing as man made climate change that is warming the earth, they are taking our resources from us so we can't recuperate down the road. The guy that spoke, Schendler, is either aware of this or just one of the useful idiots, and I am critical of him because he is trying to create extremist action from people as if the world is coming to an end. Get the Government out of ranching and farming and leave it to those who truly give a damn like you John. :The previous statement may seem crazy to those who trust their dear leaders in the New World Order:

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ybul 2 years, 2 months ago

Superpower - that is fading quickly as just like the fall of the German wall was caused by economic collapse, the current deficits are turning the US into a super pauper.

I agree that the carbon credits are simply a transfer of wealth and should not be the course of action - having investigated the whole program benefits and how they are calculating stored carbon.

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Sled, who are you quoting? I attended Mr. Schendler's presentation and am quite certain it was not him.

He mentioned that something over 60% of the energy used in our country supplies inefficient buildings, and gave examples indicating how some seemingly small (and achievable) changes could leverage larger benefits. The "Green" housing code was one, why continue building structures which are energy hogs when we know better ways?

One of his examples was about Kleenex... responding to a request to ASC to quit buying a certain product, they looked into it and caused enough stir to get Kimberly-Clark to change direction in their product line. I don't know all the ins and outs of it but Mr. Schendler's example indicates a small question or two has the power to shift a $32billion dollar company. That's roughly equivalent to the GDP of how many countries?

I'm not interested in polarizing people, and can't do a lot in my little life, but corporations can, for good or ill. Mr. Schendler didn't strike me as extremist but rather more of a hands-on person with a lot of passion. I suppose that makes him a useful idiot (per SeeuSki, above), but useful nonetheless.

Whatever your views on Climate Change, I think we can all agree our consumptive lifestyles have a finite lifespan. We can continue full speed towards the end, or try to adjust course. Your actions depend on your worldview - is it better to forge ahead with our foot on the gas pedal and launch into the abyss boldly, or use our revered problem-solving skills to try to adjust course? Each of us will have a different answer, but our combined decisions will sway the course of events.

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sledneck 2 years, 2 months ago

Sedgemo, I would like to respectfully offer a few points about housing. I might be qualified as I and my family built, own, and manage about 67 of them and have for over 35 years.

First, more efficient houses are a good thing, but that hardly gives anyone a right to mandate how my home is built. Greener homes cost more money. That flies in the face of "affordable housing". The main gripe I have here is that government mandates cause housing to be unattainable and then that same government places a burden on me to provide that item. Are you aware that rent control and affordable housing and open space laws cause a net shortage of housing... especially low-end housing?

Second, you mention how our lifestyles have a finite lifespan. I could argue that having to go out and procure more money to build a more efficient home costs more trips to work, more groceries, more gasoline, etc; and therefore, in a way is a self-defeating venture.

Thirdly, I am sure you are aware of how quickly technology is moving. Things that are new today are obsolete in a few years. Buildings are no exception, just go talk to someone in the building materials world. On this point there are two arguments: One is why spare no expense to build a building out of the absolute top-of-the-line products when they will be ho-hum in 3 years? Another is that many buildings are demolished and replaced because the location has evolved into something else. Why build homes to last 200 years if, in 20 years, the neighborhood is going to be purchased by Wal-Mart and all those structures leveled anyway? And no, the answer is not to outlaw Wal-Mart.

Fourthly, I want to get away from specifics and focus for just a second on the bigger picture. What right does anyone else have to tell me what kind of house to build? Car to drive? Heating system to use? Where do they get such a right? Is it in the Constitution? How does forcing people to use 2x6s instead of 2x4s sync with personal liberty? If each of us have, as you say, "different answers" how will we express them if we are all forced into the same mold?

Finally, I AM quoting the green movement. Not their words but their actions and results. They are hypocrites selling snake-oil to sheep. Don't you think it's a wee bit hypocritical that a bunch of folks pretend that global warming is such an alarming problem that we need to alter our grocery bag use but those same individuals spend unproductive days riding an electricity burning ski lift just to slide down a hill? Do you really think someone who believed there was a comming catastrophe would live in such an energy intensive location as northwest Colorado? No, Sedgemo, we have become a society who's ears are tickled by great speeches and invalid concepts but have zero focus on the results and ramifications of our actions and inactions. I stand by every word I wrote.

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ybul 2 years, 2 months ago

-- Why build homes to last 200 years if, in 20 years, the neighborhood is going to be purchased by Wal-Mart and all those structures leveled anyway--

So the broader question here is what efficiencies did wal-mart create that makes it in need of regional super centers? Personally it is the banking system which has given rise to the corporations - via government intervention vis a vie tax breaks for savings in 401ks which can not be invested for ones own benefit (primarily they are invested in stocks or bonds - which benefit the corporations).

Throw in the wage controls in the 40s which gave rise to pensions, which are now guaranteed by a creation of the federal government - giving rise to more cheap capital that the small guy does not have access to.

Thinking radically the government is the cause of many of our problems. Returning to a more limited government structure and a sound monetary system would give rise to a more egalitarian and sustainable world.

Without that government intervention people would not build things that they did not hope were going to last for 200+ years. It is the cheap money that the fed has created which has fueled the insanity that is the disposable world we live in today.

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Sled, thanks for the reply. I need some time to read it carefully, but really was asking who you were quoting in the earlier post, since you used quotation marks. It seemed you were implying Mr. Schendler was the source and he was not.

I surely don't have your expertise in building houses, I've built only two and am a renter these days.

However, Mr. Schendler showed a slide of a house with steel 2x4 studs as one example of poor construction. It was designed to place drywall directly on each side of the studs with some sort of insulation in between... which he determined was a bad idea since the metal would condense moisture as it naturally expanded and contracted, allowing mold to grow etc. He showed a slide of this building under construction then pointed out later that the problems never happened... because they lost so much heat through those walls that the heat/airflow prevented the condensation! One example of how poor design is a more expensive long-term proposition, and wastes energy for its lifespan. He suggested the green building codes as an achievable way to reduce waste. I don't know how regressive or comprehensive such codes are, but know we already have tons of them to get permits etc. so the process at least isn't unexpected.

I'm with Ybul, I can't see building disposable, wasteful houses that are just sleeping cubicles for people. Remember when your house was your home?

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sledneck 2 years, 2 months ago

I really think a lot of people miss my point sometimes. I blame myself for not being sufficiently articulate to get that particular point across. Or perhaps too often I shoot at multiple targets and hit none. I'll try again...

When you say things like "...I can't see building disposable houses..." or "... steel 2x4 studs as one example of poor construction..." or "... poor design is more expensive... and wastes energy..."

  I cringe. NOT because I don't agree; I absolutely agree... BUT... BUT

Once the energy leaves the meter and heads into my house it's MY energy. I am free to use it as I see fit. Once the gas leaves the pump it is MY gas whether it lasts me 50 miles per gallon or 50 feet per gallon. If YOU can't see building a disposable house then... DON'T BUILD one! I wouldn't either. But If someone who has limited resources desperately needs a home they might want to build that kind of house. It's nobody elses business.

If I said to you that I had found that the christian religion worked best and that you should be forced to practice it you would be justified in saying "don't force your religion on me". So why is it acceptable for those who practice the religion of Environmentalism to force their religious beliefs on others... at considerable expense?

Freedom sedgemo, THAT is what I seek. For you, for me and for others. Mandating actions usurps freedom. EVEN IF those actions are the most intelligent, productive, economic, efficient and wise ideas ever to proceed from the mind of man it is still WRONG to presume to force them on other autonomous human beings.

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ybul 2 years, 2 months ago

In conjunction with what sled said that person that needs a home is going to build a very small home which by nature consumes a lot less energy and probably is heated with wood. So that home is using a more renewable energy supply - however with the methane digesters out there natural gas is pretty much a renewable resource.

I cringe at the CAFOs that are responsible for the creation of most of the inputs for them. However, they are able to operate because of government subsidies for grains - a distortion to free market forces.

Heck even oil is renewable. Oil is simply a battery - a store of energy via a hydro carbon. This battery requires a reaction to free the hydrogen from oxygen - which plants do via photosynthesis and we can do via electrolysis. Though we need to combine that hydrogen with carbon, which the Germans did by heating the mixture under pressure with coal. Today we can use solar concentrators which, if not mistaken, have created temperatures far high than what the Germans used in WWII.

I am not a chemical/mechanical engineer and do not have time to actually put my mind to solving this problem or I would.

With this you have a renewable energy source that does not require the entire countries infrastructure to be thrown out the window via electric cars which if off the lead acid battery type off gas toxins that could pose a problem if large enough numbers were concentrated.

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Bravo, Sled, now I get your point, thank you! And I agree with most of it.

To this I would add one thought, which I think is where I'm coming from these days, being a tenant not an owner, which is the case for more and more people. The utilities are pretty much all set up and already inefficient, no matter how careful I am with them. For example, when we have no snow and a lot of wind like this winter, I can feel a breeze across my face at night with all the windows closed. I turn the heaters off at night and bundle up, but the thermostats are sort of goofy and not finely tuned.

So in that sort of life, once the energy hits the meter, yes it's on somebody's dime. But if we are unnecessarily more or less forced to waste it through poor construction, what's the downside to building with that in mind in the first place? Ultimately we all pay the price for wastefulness.

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sledneck 2 years, 2 months ago

Sedgemo, I live in an old, drafty house too. I have to go thru a lot of wood...

One of the points I have tried to hammer on repeatedly on this blog is economics. It is the study of the allocation of scarce resources which have alternate uses. As a woefully uneducated society we really need to learn basic economics.

If we understood this concept we would know that we live in a world of scarcity. All things (good things) are in short supply and man must constantly choose between multiple needs and desires.

A good example is at schools. Schools need books, well-paid teachers, busses, and crossing guards. If we provided as many books as the school could ever possibly want it would come at the expense of not having funds to provide as many teachers as it needs. If we paid for an unlimited amount of busses there would be no money for crossing guards...

Similarly, economics would tell us that if your rented domicile was better insulated (or better furnished, or better located, etc, etc) it would be more valuable to its owner and to those who might want to move in and send you packing. Hence, you would likely pay more per month in rent for a better insulated domicile. This increase in monthly rent cost would likely offset any savings you would realize in better insulation. Remember, your rent is relatively low for all 12 months; winter wind only blows for 6.

As I said earlier, there is no downside to building efficient buildings and this is not the basis for my objection. The downside is being forced to do so against our will; and to that I vehemently object..

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ybul 2 years, 2 months ago

-- But if we are unnecessarily more or less forced to waste it through poor construction, what's the downside to building with that in mind in the first place? Ultimately we all pay the price for wastefulness.--

Wastefulness is what a free market tries to eliminate. One does not need to look much further than the comparative house size in old town to see that over time home sizes grew (stories of settlers living in tents or caves also tells a story).

Housing lost its basic premise of shelter over time. Heck living in a house/apartment is not the only option. One can live in a camper/yurt/etc. though the government might yell child abuse if you have kids in that situation.

Much of our life is spent just paying for our technology and do we really need all of it. Would life be more enjoyable without all the ipads, laptops, fancy cars, etc.. many in the city go to work, to pay for their gym memberships, parties, etc. when if one worked in a physical job with others they could almost fill all of those needs without the expense - maybe more contently.

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Okay, y'all, You've just about convinced me I can do nothing but waste scarce resources, then die.

And hopefully not want to be buried.

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