"US Loses Opportunity With Home Energy Efficiency"

"Home energy use accounts for 16 percent of the United States' greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite the EPA's gains, some 99 percent of American houses are 'sick' -- damp, drafty, dusty, noisy and expensive to heat and cool -- and 'could be made at least 30 percent more energy-efficient with highly cost-effective, tried-and-true energy-efficiency improvements,' according to Rashkin.

The Energy Star program won't solve this. Energy Star is meant to reflect the cream of the housing stock, and thus, program officers say, will always represent a minority of American homes.

Experts say economics and regulations are the root of the problem: Mortgages are structured in ways that fail to recognize efficiency's benefits, while a patchwork of inconsistent and ill-enforced energy codes provides conflicting signals to industry.

Meanwhile consumers remain largely unaware of efficiency's advantages, advocates say, thereby bypassing an easy target for considerable cuts in national carbon emissions."

Andrew McGlashen reports for the Daily Climate January 25, 2010.

Source: Daily Climate, 01/25/2010