What climate change got to do with real estate? It all started out at homes. The electricity generated by buildings sector contributes one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions. According to Pew Center for Climate Change, buildings sector accounts for 43% of total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions [chart below].
image: Pew Center on Global Climate Change
As you can see from the chart above and breaking it down further, the real estate industry that includes commercial and residential accounted for a total of 38% of total CO2 emissions in 2002. Residential sector produces 21% of CO2. To put it in context, in total electricity spew about 38 % of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere -- mostly come from electricity generated in homes, offices and industrial buildings -- that power everything from heating and cooling, fixtures, lighting, appliances, computers, and cell phones. Yes, your cell phones, too. That is one-third of the total U.S. CO2 emissions! Hello?
Okay, here is the thing Realtors don't build homes, they sell. Builders, are supposedly in the forefront of this carbon footprint because they build homes. How many energy-efficient homes being built in this area? Very, very few...if any. Knowing what we know about how greenhouse gas emissions causing the average global temperatures to rise, why haven't more low-energy (smart) homes being built? I found it intriguing to see why builders haven't done more beyond installing energy-efficient appliances? Costs? Yes, there's that. But the difference won't be much. Then, the marketing side of it. Whatever.
When you think about it, it is much easier to start from scratch in building low-energy homes (or even zero energy homes) than to retrofit later.
Now we know that there is virtually no limit on how high energy prices can climb. We saw crude oil price passing the 'psychological' mark of $100 yesterday. That got every one on the econ pundit lists talking about the possibility of recession. In real life, how is it going to impact you? It will have an impact on 1) your 'disposable income', and 2) because of that, you now have to 'seriously' take a hard look at how well you manage your finances.
image: Energy Information Administration
When it hits our pocketbook badly, we have no choice - but, to react. Control spending (now?)... er, reduce expenses. At home, that means, spending less money on energy bills. The dollars and cents approach to be energy-efficient.
The good news. When we apply energy conservation at home, it reduces the strain on the grid. The move is not only help to cut our energy bills, but also reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. And, it helps save the environment we live in.
UPDATE: If you haven't read it yet. Dominion Power receives 'the blessing' from Virginia environmental regulators and U.S. Forest Service the tentative okay (whatever that means) to build a clean coal plant in Wise County. What clean coal? And guess what? Excuse for the plant: To meet the demand in Northern Virginia. [source: Bristol Herald]
source: PEW Center on Global Climate Change