27 April 2012

News from Ireland

Well folks, I am sitting with my fellow Building Nerd, Seamus O'Loughlin, a truly motivating individual. As committed to low energy as anyone I have met since my compatriot, Mark Hansen of REEVADIY.org.

I presented a talk at the better building conference on WED. The conference was wonderful. It was also sold out! There were many people there interested in Passivhaus and sustainable construction. With the Irish Part L building regulations now in force, you have to build a more, albeit, not yet near PH, robust envelope and there were alot of folks interested in this.

I attended several very good talks by others including a very interesting talk on financing deep retrofits. I did, as per usual, make someone mad. At the deep retrofit talk, when a discussion ensued about financing, I pointed out that the banker presenting had called for out of the box thinking yet all the solutions offered by him and the government planning folks were very much in the olde and failing financial model.

 I stood up, and did make a disclaimer that in the US I am generally dismissed as an unrealistic dreamer with socialist ideas, but that i was going to put forward my piece. And here it was:
 1) The outcome of the climate crisis is as imperative as a world war for our children.
 2) We need to recognize this as a society and marshal our resources to deal with it.
 3) We need a lot of money for renovation of existing building stock.
 4) We could easily raise the money with a tax on financial transactions or other such means (carbon tax).
 5) We could make a tax to fund the renovations and connect the repayment to the property, financed through the energy savings.
 6) No interest should be charged on this (when i said no Usury should be allowed, this is what really pissed the banker off).
 7) I suggested that the other side, the contracting side be regulated in terms of what could be charged for the work and that this will make a new industry spring up.
 8) Also I suggested to give a few years to get the work done voluntarily and then start fining folks who refuse.

 Well as usually i was met with eye rolling and groans. Nice to know my ideas are globally rejected.

 Anyway I am off to tour the Guinness Brewery!

 Cheers from Ireland - more later!

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