Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My Energy Audit Experience

We had a crowd troop through my house last Saturday to point out all its energy flaws. What I learned was this—expect the unexpected (they peered into messy closets),–-and clean out the fireplace. (Apparently they did a blower test at the home of another local elected official who had not done so, thereby covering the interior of the home with ashes.) We were surprised to learn the fireplace is not the energy leaker we thought it was. And we sure didn’t expect to have the auditor mediate a long-term marital dispute. Turns out, you can keep the radiator cover (my win) but you have to put holes in it to allow heat to circulate better (my husband’s win).

It is not unexpected that for an old house we have complex problems. The auditor from Green Home Blue Sky is coming by for a second look and to consider some of the options. I’ve asked for a list of what we should prioritize. Should we spring for a new fridge to replace the inefficient (and partially dysfunctional) old one, or should we sink money into getting insulation into the crawl space under the kitchen, which is always cold in the winter? How much destruction do we need to perform to get insulation in our finished attic, and is it worth the trouble? Would it be better to plug up all the holes the air conditioner and cable installation guys made in the cellar? Do we need to replace the 18-year-old air conditioning system?

We’ll see how much we can afford and what gets us the most bang for the buck. And, importantly, we need to know who can perform the repairs the way they should be done. I freely admit that in my home we like to think that we are better at our jobs (writing, law and policy) than we are at home maintenance. As a result, we are totally dependent on expert advice rather than our own talent and ability.

So stay tuned. And share your stories.

1 comment:

Councilmember Nancy Floreen said...

A pretty regular question I get is – how can I be so wrapped up in the climate change issues while at the same time supporting the ICC? My answer is this. Whatever we do to reduce energy dependence will not preclude the need to residents of suburbia to move around. And it is not just us – this includes all the folks in the region and, in fact, the country, who are drawn to the nation’s capital. By the time the ICC is complete, maybe we will have more cars operating on biodiesel, natural gas, or hydrogen. Vehicle standards are being increased – not enough – but at least to better than they have been. This will all help. The fact remains that residents will still need to travel across the county, and we planned our county to accommodate that need. Building the ICC will reduce traffic build up on community roads never intended to carry so many vehicles, problematic idling, and will actually encourage real alternatives to single occupant travel through its bus way and bike lanes. This is only one piece of the county’s overall transportation plan. Transit is equally important, and I’m working on a funding plan for it now.