|In these times of combined threat from climate change, peak oil prices, pollution and toxic waste, green home building not only makes sense, it is imperative. But the roadblocks to stop residential green building (some on purpose, some accidental, some absurd) are keeping Americans from investing in eco-friendly homes.
Building codes are one of many roadblocks. Many electric, water and septic rules preclude green building. Many contractors won't touch a green building project because it means teaching old dogs new tricks. Instead of billions in federal dollars going to the fossil fuel industry, why not put some of those already available tax dollars into setting up regional research institutes for green home building.
Tax credits need to be implemented or greatly expanded which not only support alternative energy, but also reward eco-friendly site planning, houses with smaller footprints (under 2,000 square feet), but which also encourage utilization of all kinds of green building materials.
Government should fund free education courses that help contractors leave behind the wasteful building practices of the past.
Green building consultants could be hired to staff state and county offices, much like the agricultural extension services of the past.
So long as outdated technology is codified in our building ordinances, green building will be unable to move ahead in most areas. State and federal governments should be helping by providing incentives for counties, cities and towns to rewrite their codes to include all kinds of green alternatives.
To accomplish these goals state and federal codes first need to be updated
Bob Weiner, New Castle County Councilman, Wilmington
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