Friday, December 11, 2015

Our Energy Audit


Mrs. Butcher arranged for for us to have a home energy audit, a program subsidized by all four Connecticut energy suppliers. For $99, an experienced team comes to your home and analyzes every possible source of energy loss/excess utilization, from leaky closets, to improperly drafting hot water heaters to old light bulbs. They make sure the furnace is drafting properly (ours wasn't) and tell you who to call. They weather strip every outside door and external closet. They check your insulation (ours was woefully inadequate) and provide you with a coupon worth 50% or $1300 for whatever extra insulation you need, and provide a referral to a company that will do the work. Your utility will loan you money you need at 0% interest over 24 months, with equal payments added to your bill. The rough estimate is that these improvements, in sum, will cut our annual energy bills by about a third. That means the total cost should pay for itself in about 3 years.

The whole program amazed me. When I asked Mrs B what was in it for the power companies and the state, she sagely replied, "They don't want to build another power plant."

We haven't seen the Paris climate agreement's final form yet. I'm sure you'll hate it. Some of will be onerous no doubt, and some of it will be controversial. But much of it, my guess is, will be as sensible and doable as the carbon reducing steps taken in our audit.

I think I have a healthy respect for just how difficult reducing carbon emissions will prove to be, and how challenging the trade-offs are. Given the nature of our species, the odds are not very good that we'll succeed. But I must ask you Bill, at the risk of sending you into an I-hate-Eli-funk. What if you, and the climate skeptics (no D-word from me) who dominate the Republican Party, are simply wrong about the threat that unmodified climate change presents to our way of life, and all those pointy-headed-grant seeking-anti-capitalist alarmist scientists are right?


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