For some decades now our government has been exhorting us to build houses that consume less energy. The rationale has changed over time from reducing dependence on foreign oil imports, to lowering utility bills, to reducing summer peak-load electricity demands that cause brown outs. We now have another, much more serious reason to build houses that use less energy – global warming and green house gases. Most homeowners are aware of this phenomenon, but most assume that the emissions causing the problem come from the millions of vehicles on our highways and the belching industrial smokestacks located in nearly every state. But here in the U.S., the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions, which account for 85 percent of all green house gases, are buildings. And half of these are houses. An easy way to grasp the scale of this problem is to think in terms of cars. Every year, the amount of emissions attributable to each house in America is equivalent to that of two ca...
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