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The 95-97% numbers refer to an average home not a low energy or even
0-energy home. In the last case obviously any savings made during
construction are very relevant. The is point is very clearly made by
the S-house research as executed by GRAT www.s-house.at. A low CO2
built structure can live for many years for a non sensitive low energy
structure. An analysis made by GRAT did came up with an 11 year lead
for a a low CO2 build to a conventional build with equal in service CO2
A comparison I made for 100m^2 of exterior SB wall with exterior lime
plaster and a conventional wood frame with lime plaster with the rest
of the building structure kept equal. This substitution leads to quite
a considerable savings in CO2 submissions. Based on Dutch conditions
and statistics this simple choice compensates the average family CO2
output for 2.5 years this includes transport etc. I could also have
made the comparison with brick resulting in even more substantial
Another factor to consider is the the energy /CO2 investment during
building is done and unchangeable and cannot be reclaimed later with
new technology or more sustainable sources later on.
On Jul 3, 2007, at 23:04, Catherine Wanek wrote:
At 11:43 AM 7/3/2007, `Darryl wrote:
...... in Stuart Cowan / Sim Van der Ryn's book, Ecological
Design. They mention it almost in passing that 97% of the energy
used in buildings in the U.S. is "maintenance energy" which is what
is required to heat, cool and fix.
I heard this "statistic" a number of years ago during a presentation
at a Department of Energy -sponsored conference. It was given as
part of the results of a study done by the concrete industry.
For what it is worth, their results were: 95% "maintenance energy,"
based on a 100-year life of a building.
Each year the amount of energy lost through UNINSULATED homes in the
United States is equivalent to the amount of fuel delivered annually
through the Alaskan Pipeline -- U.S. Department of the Interior, 2000
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