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What happened to….

CMObuilds | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

I was thumbing through a magazine this weekend and saw an ad for a heat pump add-on for an existing electric water heater, fiberglass coated building panels for basements, 2 part foam, lot of hot water solar designs, indoor air quality concerns, $1 a watt solar panels in production from RCA, some interviews with a builder who was on the road to net zero, high ozone depleting building material list with xps on it, and many many more interesting concepts, ideas, plans, interviews from people that actually had this stuff going as well as some real crooked news bits involving oil companies and utilities issue after issue.

Im scratching my head because all of this was gleaned from Mother Earth News, 1970’s issues. What the hell happened? The information clearly got better and better, concepts more refined from the 1974 issue I flipped through to early 1980, the last issue my gam gam had.

Its like this entire back to the land movement/sustainable building movement gained steam and then -insert reason please- it stopped, hibernated and hasnt really come to surface until I’d say early 2000’s.

Since I was born in 1980, can any of you oldtimers please explain what happened?

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  1. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #1

    In a nutshell, after the oil price spikes of the 1970s conservation and efficiency efforts begun under the Nixon and Carter administrations were effective, breaking the OPEC oil price fixing cartel, and energy got cheap again for the next couple of decades (with some volatility.) US energy ppolicy support for expanding US fossil fuel production the late 70s into the 80s also had an effect- Carter was an a efficiency, coal & nuke guy, Reagan mostly oil & gas. The Reagan administration gutted renewable energy programs, but didn't kill them off entirely. Efficiency standards for appliances and vehicles quelled growth in energy demand, and energy prices remained low.

    The lowest inflation adjusted price for oil since the 1920s occured in the late '90s during the Clinton era: But by 2008 the inflation adjusted prices of oil spiked to early 80s levels again under falling production and growing demand in the developing world. Lots of moving parts to that, but you were around then and can make your own interpretations of events.

    Global warming wasn't taken seriously until the 1990s in most quarter (and still isn't in some), but that too has had a impact on energy policy in the US and elsewhere.

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