Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Leverage Point, An Overflowing Park & Ride

     A few weeks ago I happened upon an overflowing Park & Ride lot just off of Exit 11 into Richmond, Vermont.  I haven't seen this ever in Vermont.  Perhaps it's a sign of the times.  Everywhere in the US costs at the pump distress drivers and as indicated here  at the Park & Ride dramatically shifting behaviors.
     We are at another leverage point where economic pressures are shifting consumers and businesses to  action towards more energy efficient and conserving practices.  Given the turbulence in the energy market, unpredictable prices at the pump can and fuel truck aren't we better off seeking more predictability in operating our homes, offices, schools, public buildings and the buildings where we shop?  We can't afford not to.  
     As an architect I know how helpful to homeowner's bottom line it is to consider weatherizing existing homes with better air-sealing, additional insulation and retrofitting windows with higher performing ones while updating heating and cooling systems and appliances to more energy efficient models.  There are numerous federal  and state tax incentives renewables and efficiency homeowners and businesses can apply for to soften the costs of taking these steps.  There's also incentives to moving to renewable energy sources for homes and businesses, you can learn more here by clicking on this link to Renewable Energy Vermont's website.
     Living in Vermont you can't miss the impact of Efficiency Vermont and its many programs assisting Vermonter's in large and small ways.  Whether it's helping subsidize the cost of purchasing compact florescent light bulbs at local hardware stores, providing information on weatherization contractors or best practices on green building and energy efficiency this statewide organization is an invaluable resource.  Vermonter's through the assistance of this program and others around the state, have lowered overall electrical usage and demand as compared to ten years ago.  Vermonter's by our nature are early adopters in green and sustainability strategies.  We're known for it.
     Over the last ten or so years Vermont building and general contractors along with architects and engineers have developed expertise in best practices in green and sustainable building from the very small scale home renovation to campus wide construction.  Green design is mainstream design now.  To soften the blow to your monthly finances and ensure greater predictability in managing your household and business in the coming years it pays to consider taking steps now.  You can find architects through AIA Vermont's online Architect directory.  Check out Efficiency Vermont's link to it's Better Buildings by Design Conference Website award winners by year.  It's a great way to find building professionals who are practicing state of the art energy efficient design whether residential or commercial scale.

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