Saturday, January 30, 2010

Energy Star Attic Ladders

I wonder if the rebate-organization indifference toward the wonderful attic ladders I install, insulated to R5 and better like any Energy Star rated outside door, has anything to do with lack of Energy Star rating. EPA has not bothered to consider attic ladders and portals among candidate building products.

My organization gets excited only about the tarps, which excuse continued sale of leaky and uninsulated ladders. The tarps are among home sealing products that EPA does consider, however I see no evidence any manufacturer associated with attic access is an Energy Star Partner.

I have tried an internet search of the title of this post. If I keep going down that list, I will probably find every crummy cover. I don't think I will find my industrious manufacturers in Poland, Czech Republic and Sweden, who have not claimed rating. On Day One of this post,  a big-box store had an advertisement-paid high position, with no R5 attic ladder on its shelves. It seems Google has responded to fix that. Remarkable!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Diligence, Zeal, or Neither

These requirements of Oregon's Energy Trust are not attainable without unjustified cost and inconvenience:
>R30 for a ceiling portal, >R15 for a wall portal, and >R10 for a drop-down ladder.

Further, they are not required by Oregon's implementation of the 2008 International Energy Conservation Code, IECC. The "real" rules say only that an outside door must be U less than 0.2, R5. The special case of an attic access is not addressed. Volunteering more-restrictive rules for a path under less thermal stress makes no sense.

There are precedents for the zeal, excused as diligence. The parent IECC seems to say:
- - - well, I can't even copy and paste. This is retyped from a read-only summary:

Section 402.2.3
Requires attic access hatches and doors from conditioned space to unconditioned space to be weatherstripped and insulated to the level equivalent to the assembly where it is located.

How mean that one must pay ICC $34 to do more than glimpse a snippet of the rules they presume to impose on the public. I wonder if ICC will now sue me for posting the paraphrased summary words without copy protection. (I started to join ICC, to at last buy and read IECC codes, last December. That failed when I could not get the no-cost pdf download that should be freely available, along with the probably-slim print copy gratis with $100 membership.)

Energy Trust of Oregon has spared me some of the sting of the IECC zeal, but remains zealous compared to Oregon Department of Energy. Some inspectors holding IECC, and some state authorities impose the full R38 or R49 floor requirement, for an attic portal. Still, I  see the rules including even R10 for an attic ladder not as diligence, or zeal, but as a heedless endorsement of tarps. In majority, the public does not go along. Tarp sales are slow. I will never touch one.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fairness, The Public Purpose Fund

Oregon's Public Purpose Fund was not created as another trick to boost utility profit or to create jobs, or to promote some favored business or new green technology. A need was seen to help people to do right with power consumption for home heating (and not cooling, especially). Some people need a message, or direct help, to get weatherization done first, and then to use greener power. Only by handing out help up-front where needed, do the funds go fairly to all people. Where funds are offered only as rebates, they go only to the wise who are both thrifty and more-affluent. They need instead to go to all equally, even to the unwise. It is not fair to take money from the unwise or unfortunate, and give some back only if they have the savings or take out a home equity loan, to do the good thing. It is especially unfair to take the money in utility fees paid by renters, who have no way of getting any back.

Of course the justification to anyone of a public purpose fund, is that utilities to some degree, and all of us to a larger degree, are better off, when energy is not wasted.