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End of Oil

Post in 'The Green Room' started by begreen, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    834
    Loc:
    Central NY
    Hi Benjamin,

    What exactly is your beef with older homes? Many have been well cared for, and/or restored and weatherized and are more efficient than any McMansion with 2x4 stud construction and cheap windows. It seems like just about any post from you includes a dig on "older" homes and a plug for new construction. It seems that every post from you is dripping with venom about how awful old homes are and how wonderful new homes are.

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  2. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    3,721
    Loc:
    Eastern Central PA
    The beauty of restoring old homes is you can do one section at a time WHILE YOUR STILL LIVING IN IT. I do it for a living.
    If i want a standard R value I blow cellulose into the wall cavities.If i want MORE R value i can put Foaminsulation outside before the siding goes on. If i want SUPER insulation i can also put Foam board inside before the drywall goes up.
    Im getting very good results with just the cellulose and good windows.
    Nowadays i mostly install gas heat,never oil unless its ABSOLUTELY the only choice.
  3. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Messages:
    695
    Loc:
    SW WI
    I have nothing against restoring old houses, I own a few but they're not "restored". I think there are many fine houses that should be at least saved, and if you want to retrofit or restore one then go for it.

    I AM venomously opposed to using govt funds to subsidize the upgrades of houses that are better off demolished, and IMHO that is too many of the houses they work on. I'm very familiar with the block grant programs (often called Community Action Program, CouleeCAP locally). They obviously have to focus on the short term payback items and that is simply a band aid approach to reducing energy use when what we need is Dr Kevorkian doing the triage.

    Keep in mind that we are not necessarily talking about the same houses. You live in an area where a two hundred year old house is not that unusual, two hundred year old houses around here are tiny log cabins or stone huts. Many cities in the midwest were "thrown up" in a very short period of time, and were designed to make money for the builder, not to last a century. My own great-grandfather owned a small lumberyard and put up dozens of spec houses throughout the depression. I've seen the houses and they were well enough built, but you can only do so much with what they are. One is still in the family and I've seen the owners put way more money into than it would cost to demolish and build new, and it is still a terribly performing bungalow. Sure it may have already been improved by 80% but it still uses at least twice the energy of another relative's new slab on grade ranch that's not any better than the minimum code requirements, at less than the cost of the upgrades to the cute bungalow.

    I think the notion that a well cared for old home is more efficient than a "mcmansion with 2x4 walls and cheap windows" is ridiculous and shows your ignorance of the code requirements and the airtightness of even the cheapest vinyl windows (initially at least!)

    Trump obviously knows his stuff, and I agree entirely that it can be done, and I agree entirely with his methods, except my wife doesn't allow me to live-in-rehab anymore (I'm finishing the "other side" so it's a pretty fine distinction). When inspecting potential old house purchases for friends-relatives-potential clients I almost always tell them that the house is not worth the trouble, at least if I'm getting paid to do the work. About half of the time they ignore this advice so I get a pretty good test of my appraisal. Sure you can take an old structure and completely replace everything except the frame, but the frame is such a small percentage of the total cost of a house, and the reuse is so much more time consuming than new construction, that it's usually not worth it.

    If I were dealing with European building methods, or maybe even Northeast building methods I might be more in favor of retrofits, but with the added on-cobbled together-junk that I've dealt with, I'm pretty sure of my assessment.
  4. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    3,721
    Loc:
    Eastern Central PA
    Half of what the Govt does dont make sense, the half that does they screw up anyway. Like building houses below sea level.
    I don,t really replace everything except the frame, it s too expensive,actually almost everything stays, i landfill close to 0 demolition waste. Less than 1% im sure. Housing prices are so low right now im losing money on every house i do, but i have to finish what i start or i lose even more.
    The goal if you have the dough is NetZero But like a hybrid or electric car, the payback may take awhile.
    We have less time to waste than most people think IMO cuz when declining oil production crosses with increase demand things will get ugly very fast.
    Fortunate will be the people who need very little to no heating fuel or motor fuel.

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