Thursday, October 27, 2005

The market at work...

The post has an informative article on how to avoid high heating bills this coming winter. High heating bills. Call me a naive moron, but why oh why do we only see this stuff when the price of gas goes up? I mean, why can't we have articles about how to save energy. Or articles about how to reduce fossil fuel consumption and stave off global warming. Or articles about efficiency as an aesthetic concern. Really, I mean it.

Having fathered a petite little lass recently, I (and my lovely wife) have been on a home ownership kick recently. We've looked at houses all over Capitol Hill and even in...gasp!...Virginia. One thing I've noticed is that, almost uniformly, houses currently on the market in DC lack good windows. Not only that, but they also lack efficient heating systems, insulation, and other such methods of energy savings. Last week we nearly put a bid down on a house. It was a beautiful house. We visited it four times, it was so beautiful. Each time we went, though, I was struck by the tall ceilings, the uninsulated sky lights, the single-pane windows and the 40s-era furnace in the basement. The wife and I worried about whether we could afford the heating bill this coming winter, much less the cost of making the house air-tight. Thus, on our fourth and last visit, I asked the owner what his heating bill was the previous two winters. His answer: $200-300 per month.

If gas prices really do double this winter, that dude (actually, the new owner) is going to be in a world of hurt. But had he done anything like insulate his skylights or replace his furnace? Nope. Of course, that might be because he's not sensitive to price changes. Or maybe he knew he was going to sell his house. I don't know. But even if I were wealthy, $300 a month to heat 1200 square feet seems downright foolish.

Rant rant rant.

Anyway, here's the thing. If you're a homeowner, read the article and contemplate which, if any, of the simpler steps in the article you could take. Weatherstripping is a breeze and caulking is easy too. Try it and see if your energy bills (and hence usage) don't improve this winter. And if you live in an older house like on we're going to buy on the Hill, try getting an energy audit. The link will take you to a self-audit, but energy firms will actually do a full audit on your house and tell you exactly how you can save energy and preserve natural resources.