Many of you have seen my posts regarding better ways to conserve both energy and resources than what the government is proposing. We do not need to spend billions or trillions of dollars on wind mills that are nothing but expensive and very ugly sculptures when the wind is not blowing. We do not need to waste acres and acres of natural land and habitat to construct solar or wind farms. In fact we could reduce and I daresay eliminate our use of fossil fuels for all of our home energy requirements in three simple steps. 1) Require that all new homes and even medium sized commercial buildings be constructed with Structurally Insulated Panels (SIP) or Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF). The typical R value of a standard 2 by four framed house is less than that of the insulation used. For Example a house framed with 2 by 4 studs and insulated with R 13 bats, the most popular method, only produces a wall with an R value of about a 10. Many factors cause this but the main reason is that the studs themselves conduct cold into the interior of the house. With SIPs, there is no thermal break and conduction of cold is all but eliminated resulting in a 4 inch thick wall with an R value of a minimum of 24. More than twice the insulating properties of standard construction! Using SIP roof panels create a roof system with an R 40 rating. Again much higher than standard truss and rafter construction. SIP construction also results in stronger safer buildings and generally only add about $10 a month to the average mortgage. But since one can see a 50% or in some cases much higher decrease in energy bills, the result is more money in your pocket. SIPs are made from oriented strand board from entirely renewable sources thereby reducing deforestation and houses built with SIPs are generally constructed on a much shorter time table since they are all cut to size with window, door and electrical conduit all done before the panels leave the factory. 2) Now that we have the house we need to heat and cool it. Our second step is the installation of a ground source geothermal heat pump. These systems take advantage of the fact that the earth's temperature just a few feet below ground is a constant 60-70 degrees. A liquid is circulated through loops of piping that either is warmed in the winter and then used to heat air to be circulated in the home or used as a heat sink in the summer to remove warm air from the house. Many systems can also be used to heat water as well. GSHP systems do cost more than conventional gas or oil systems but usually return the difference in cost in savings in less than 5 years. There are fewer moving parts thus being more reliable and there is no need to store flammable gas or liquids in your home. Since there are no exhaust fumes to deal with there is also no need for flues or chimneys. So GSHP systems are cleaner, quieter, more reliable and safer than conventional heating and cooling systems. 3) Last but not least please read this post for our third and final component in this simplified, less expensive energy production and conservation strategy. http://www.usmessageboard.com/energy/115779-the-big-idea-small-town-nukes.html#post2268883 These three simple steps can all be implemented faster and less expensively than the much touted large scale so called green energy projects that we all know will be rife with corruption and waste. Simple small scale solutions to a big problem.