What is the net environmental impact of a deep energy retrofit (DER)? We know that adding insulation, a more efficient furnace, modern windows and leak sealing foam to an older house will reduce the energy required to maintain a given temperature. We can calculate the cost savings and GHG reductions. But what of the environmental impacts from all of the inputs to such a project? To what extent do the upstream and downstream processes in the technosphere effect nature, and how much of our environmental improvement from burning less fossil fuel is offset by the manufacture and transport of the products needed to achieve that reduction? A life cycle assessment (LCA) of the Brownsberger’s deep energy retrofit project seeks to address these questions.
The goal of LCA is to compare the full range of environmental and social damages assignable to products and services. For more on Life Cycle Assessment, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_cycle_assessment.
To read the LCA on the Brownsberger’s deep energy retrofit, go to: http://willbrownsberger.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/North_LCA_E150_23Dec2010.pdf