Report: Tough building codes save homeowners thousands

(Midwest Energy News, March 6, 2012)—Last week we reported on efforts in Illinois to implement a new building code that would be the most energy-efficient in the Midwest.

The state’s homebuilders association opposes the changes, in part because it says the rules will add to the cost of home construction.

On that point, there’s little dispute. Building homes that are less leaky and better insulated certainly does come with additional expenses.

A recent study, however, suggests those costs are less than what some builders fear, and that the payback for homeowners is much greater.

An average Illinois home built under the 2012 code will cost about $1,500 more than a home constructed under the existing code, the report concludes.

That increase will lead to a slightly higher downpayment and add about $6 a month to a 30-year mortgage, but the added efficiency will save residents $33 a month in energy costs. The report estimates a typical homeowner will start seeing a net savings after 11 months. Continue reading “Report: Tough building codes save homeowners thousands”

Forum to address energy’s role in national security

(Midwest Energy News, March 2, 2012)—Military leaders are increasingly connecting the dots between energy, climate and national security issues. We’ve reported here before on the U.S. military’s push to go green with solar, biofuels and other renewable technologies.

Across the pond, defense leaders in the United Kingdom have also made energy and climate a top priority. Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti is the United Kingdom’s climate and energy security envoy. He’s speaking this afternoon at a public forum on energy and security issues hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

Midwest Energy News
 spoke with Morisetti on Thursday before his visit to Minnesota. The following is a transcript of our conversation, with slight edits made for clarity and conciseness.

How and when did you first start to think about energy and climate change as national security issues?

I think there’s been a growing awareness and their relationships over the last five or six years. A report was written in 2007 by CNA, a Washington-based think tank. Their military advisory board did a piece on climate change and the impact on national security. Subsequently they’ve done some work on energy as well. Continue reading “Forum to address energy’s role in national security”