MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
Developers, researchers and fed¬eral representatives met at a model home aboard Laurel Bay for the an¬nouncement of Lend Lease’s role in the Better Buildings Challenge, the Obama Administration’s newest en¬ergy conservation initiative, Oct. 12.
Duncan Prahl and Ari Rapport, ana¬lysts and researchers for IBACOS, a re¬search service for the U.S. homebuild¬ing industry, toured toured through the house with representaives and pri¬vate developers, while demonstrating pressure tests and pointing out ways they can improve the home.
At 22 pounds of pressure per square inch, air begins to leak through elec¬trical sockets and light switches.
“The amount of air leaking in the house during the test was equal to leaving a window open at all times,” Prahl explained.
The data is entered into a computer program, which then produces a re¬design plan to be reviewed by Lend Lease. Rapport explained that it will take approxi¬mately three weeks to produce the results of the tests once all the housing development’s test results are entered.
Plans will be implemented as soon as possible on a house-to-house basis.
For instance, some homes may just need new windows, while others may need roofing redone and walls insulated. IBACOS will work hand in hand with Lend Lease to develop how they will deploy their plans down the road. For now, residents can expect to have their homes tested in the upcoming months and will be able to compare energy savings against their current energy bills.
“The Better Buildings initiative here piggybacks off of our pilot program,” said Kathleen Murney, At¬lantic Marine Corps Com¬munities project manager. “Our residents have been monitoring their energy usage for a year now through statements we make available to them.
“As a result, they have been looking for ways to reduce their energy usage through actions such as unplugging televisions at night, limiting XBOX play¬ing and making sure lights are off. Now, after they have done all they can to reduce energy usage, they look toward us to see how we can help them reduce energy consumption.”
Residents can also ex¬pect reduced jet noise, ac¬cording to Prahl, who cit¬ed the efforts of the city of Minneapolis, where re-insulating homes sur¬rounding their high-traffic airport to reduce aircraft noise is occurring.
Goals of the Obama Ad¬ministration for the Bet¬ter Buildings Challenge are to reduce energy con¬sumption by 20 percent by 2020, for the partners involved. Residents of Tri-Command housing can expect to see their homes improved before then.
“Lend Lease has the ag¬gressive goal of improving all 40,000 of our homes throughout the nation in five years,” said Cindy Gersch, Lend Lease di¬rector of marketing. “We are the only developer selected to participate in the program, and we also have properties in varying climates, from the heat of Beaufort, to chilly Alaska.We will release our test re¬sults to the other partners to help them expedite their renovation process.”
Better Buildings Chal¬lenge will benefit the na¬tional economy by saving companies an estimated $40 billion annually, ac¬cording to Michelle Moore, the Obama Ad¬ministration’s federal en¬vironmental executive. The program will also have an impact locally.
“We will use as much local resources as possible,” Mur¬ney said, which may create jobs in the Lowcountry.