Monday, July 20, 2009

Even New Mexico regulators don't understand adobe!

In New Mexico they have adobe brick factories for goodness sake. You'd think that the regulators would understand the energy efficiency of the stuff and the value of adobe to the state's economy and environment, but according to the an article by Joe Tibbets in the July 2009 Solaradobe Newsletter from SWSA, the state's Energy and Minerals Department is pushing for adoption of the a national code which does not:
1. Does not mention any passive solar in its calcs
2. Cannot model passive solar well
3. Does not have the sophistication of Energy 10
4. Cannot integrate thermal mass or temperature swing
5. Cannot program Trombe walls or time delay
6. Cannot program selective surfaces or reflectors
7. Leans designers away from passive solar
8. Leans designers to expensive equipment that needs government subsidies
9. Requires 'energy experts' to use REM software to review drawings for permits
10. Calls for REM to be a requirement in new green building codes

Courtesy Solaradobe Newsletter
The code they are pushing which incorporates HERS ratings and LEED standards would substantially upgrade the efficiency of inherently inefficient construction methods (stick building) but would cause problems for adobe and compressed earth block builders among others, since according to Joe adobe builders would not qualify for the NM Sustainable Building Tax Credit.

This illustrates how complicated regulatory issues can become. Good luck to all the natural builders in New Mexico.

Photo courtesy Leto A. by CC license and Flickr

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