Make buildings fossil free in Carbondale

Insanity, Albert Einstein said, is doing the same thing but expecting a different result. Unfortunately, the Einstein diagnosis means that Carbondale, and this valley, are far around the bend. Some 90% of Americans now think climate change is happening. But what are we doing about it?

While researching methods of dealing with the lowering of carbon emissions, I came across a Danish company that is manufacturing innovative equipment and products to retrofit and lower the emissions of existing buildings in Europe. Even Carbondale recognizes that existing buildings are a major part of our local green house gas emissions. The spokesperson pointed out that, ironically, the world (and Carbondale) continues to construct new buildings that also are emitting greenhouse gas from burning fossil fuels. These new building are now just added to existing buildings that need to be retrofitted.

What would Einstein say? When you find yourself in a hole — stop digging! The technology exists for new buildings to be free of emissions. We should demand that they use it. Parts of California are now requiring this. New gas lines are not allowed.

There are existing building codes that do require new structures to be more efficient. We also have new requirements for solar panels on some buildings. But all these buildings are still part of the problem. I suggest we get tough on this and only allow fossil fuel-free buildings. And soon. We are in the midst of a development boom.

Changing these building codes will spur innovation and push for better pricing on the kinds of practices, materials and products that can solve these problems.

Patrick Hunter