News: Better Building initiative to bring ‘green’ homes to Tri-Command
Story by Lance Cpl. R. J. Driver
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Developers, researchers and federal representatives met at a model home aboard Laurel Bay for the announcement of Lend Lease’s role in the Better Buildings Challenge, the Obama Administration’s newest energy conservation initiative, Oct. 12.
Duncan Prahl and Ari Rapport, analysts and researchers for IBACOS, a research service for the U.S. homebuilding industry, toured toured through the house with representatives and private 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 electrical 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,”
The data is entered into a computer program, which then produces a redesign plan to be reviewed by Lend Lease. Rapport explained that it will take approximately 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, Atlantic Marine Corps Communities 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 playing 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 expect reduced jet noise, according to Prahl, who cited the efforts of the city of Minneapolis, where re-insulating homes surrounding their high-traffic airport to reduce aircraft noise is occurring.
Goals of the Obama Administration for the Better Buildings Challenge are to reduce energy consumption 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 aggressive goal of improving all 40,000 of our homes throughout the nation in five years,” said Cindy Gersch, Lend Lease director 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 results to the other partners to help them expedite their renovation process.”
Better Buildings Challenge will benefit the national economy by saving companies an estimated $40 billion annually, according to Michelle Moore, the Obama Administration’s federal environmental executive. The program will also have an impact locally.
“We will use as much local resources as possible,” Murney said, which may create jobs in the Lowcountry.