The original fairy tale about the 3 Little Pigs is a bit harsher than the later versions. In the original the first two pigs get eaten by the big bad wolf because they were lazy, thoughtless home builders. The third pig used his brain and built a quality house out of brick. In the original tale, the wolf after huffing and puffing to no avail, then trying to trick the pig out of the house decided to go down the chimney. The pig boiled a pot of water, put it in the fireplace and that was the end of the wolf.
In my 20 years in real estate and construction, most clients are like the the first two pigs. They choose to cut corners and always look at first cost rather than the long term picture.
That attitude has caught up with us as a nation. It's crystalized because we're in a period with a weak dollar, declining real estate values, high energy costs and dependence on foreign sources for oil.
That's a bad position to be in. Fortunately that will change for the better. It will be those who are like the third little pig who will lead us out of this decline. Those who are long term thinkers, innovative entrepreneurs will come up with profitable solutions to problems.
In an earlier article I mentioned T. Boone Pickens strategy about building wind farms down in Sweetwater Texas. His strategy will reduce an outflow of capital to foreign business for oil from $700 Billion to $400 Billion within 10 years. Thats $300 Billion that stays here in the U. S. A. Thats a start.
We're starting to see a significant change in automobiles that people are driving to smaller fuel efficient models. Again, I think it will be the entrepreneurs who will develop and bring to market cars and motorcycles driven by alternative energy. I'd like to find statistics showing the benefits of eliminating the use (or drastic reduction) of oil in our everyday transport.
When it comes to real estate ICF Construction (Insulating Concrete Forms) is what the smart third little pig would build today. This type of construction reduces energy costs by as much as 80%.
Currently about 85% of all homes built in the United States are wood frame and less than 10% are ICF.
I'm going to take a stab at what ICF Construction can do for energy savings. These are my own quick numbers.
My house is 2,800 square feet and I average 88 gallons of oil use per month. Let's say that the average home in the United States is 2,000 square feet and has a similar use rate of oil which would be about 60 gallons per month or 720 per year. Last year there were about 1.1 million new homes built. If each new home built is ICF construction with oil heat thats a ballpark reduction of 500 gallons per year per home.
Think about that. With price of home heating oil at $5.00 per gallon thats a household savings of $2,500.00. Thats a lot of money that stay here in the United States rather than ending up in the hands of foreign interest who are in turn investing in our stocks , bonds and real estate. Not to mention how we are fueling unfriendly interests who are using our money to blow us up.
It's taken a severe crisis that we all feel, proving that we can't live like the first two little pigs. Innovation, thinking and a movement towards a Green energy efficient society is what will lead us out of the pickle we're in.
I'd hope to hear comments from you on this topic. So which little pig are you, do you want to get eaten or not?