For too long areas have just done what was done before when it came to building houses. Let's use some of these amazing technologies as the backbone of rebuilding the Gulf Coast.

Rebuild Smarter and More Environmentally Friendly

Chad Whitney

Rebuild Smarter and More Environmentally Friendly
For too long areas have just done what was done before when it came to building houses. Let's use some of these amazing technologies as the backbone of rebuilding the Gulf Coast.
Chad Whitney http://www.planetneworleans.com 

New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf coast were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina's wrath wiped out much of these areas. All that is left is piles and piles of rubble and flooded homes. The tears have been shed for the damage, ruined lives, and lost loved ones. The storm and the immediate emergency is over and the cleanup has begun. What really hasn't started as of yet is the rebuilding of completely destroyed structures. This rebuild has crawled at a snails pace for many reasons, thoughtfulness hopefully at the top.

Never before has America faced a disaster of this magnitude, nor has it ever been offered such an opportunity for progress. There are sections in Louisiana and Mississippi that are already gone or will have to be bulldozed to clear away structural damaged homes and businesses. Discussions of rebuilding these areas are already underway. Many factors such as elevation, structural soundness, and Hurricane resistant designs have been mentioned. One topic that has seemingly been left out of the media spotlight is the availability to build super high efficient solar and alternative energy housing.

Can you imagine a Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf coast that uses a fraction of the power it once did? Can you imagine two non high tech states leading the way on the alternative energy front? It can happen and it can become a reality. In designing new building codes, it is important for the governments, federal, state, and local to insist upon the most energy efficient designs currently available. For too long areas have just done what was done before when it came to building houses. Let's use some of these amazing technologies as the backbone of rebuilding the Gulf Coast.

Here are a few ideas I would love to see implemented in the Gulf Coast's rebuilding:

  • I would like to see a minimum of 500 watts of solar or alternative energy creation on every reconstructed property.
  • I would like to see a minimum of 16 SEER central air conditioning units used in homes. The current minimum 12 SEER is just too inefficient.
  • A minimum of R30 insulation on all exterior sides of reconstructed homes.
  • A complete requirement for Energy Star Appliances and Electronics.
  • Government buildings that are at least as efficient as local homes.
  • Parks and Local Recreation facilities designed to operate at least 50% of the time on alternative energy.

Implementing just a few of these ideas will surely help reduce the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast demand for power. This lower load will lower the need for additional power plants and increase environmental friendliness. Saving money by making your house more efficient is always a long term financial plan. The cost however, is only a little extra when starting from scratch as many of our neighbors are.

I want to see these areas rebuilt using smarter and more environmentally friendly designs. After all the construction and rebuilding is complete, these two devastated areas can sit back and be proud of what they have accomplished. This kind of forward thinking for rebuilding the coast can really help jumpstart a new environmentally friendly construction phase in the rest of the country.

 

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