Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Life on the Plateau

The New York Times had a piece over the weekend that looked at the political risks to the Obama administration due to rising gas prices:
Rising gasoline prices, trumpeted in foot-tall numbers on street corners across the country, are causing concern among advisers to President Obama that a budding sense of economic optimism could be undermined just as he heads into the general election.

White House officials are preparing for Republicans to use consumer angst about the cost of oil and gas to condemn his energy programs and buttress their argument that his economic policies are not working.

In a closed-door meeting last week, Speaker John A. Boehner instructed fellow Republicans to embrace the gas-pump anger they find among their constituents when they return to their districts for the Presidents’ Day recess.

“This debate is a debate we want to have,” Mr. Boehner told his conference on Wednesday, according to a Republican aide who was present. “It was reported this week that we’ll soon see $4-a-gallon gas prices. Maybe higher. Certainly, this summer will see the highest gas prices in years. Your constituents saw those reports, and they’ll be talking about it.”

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Experiencing an Energy Audit

Last week, I had an audit of our house's energy use done and I wanted to share a few impressions of the process.  Partly I hope to inspire a few readers to do the same, and partly I figure some of my readers know a lot more about this than me and can answer some of my questions.  The audit was performed by Jon Harrod of Snug Planet, a local energy efficiency firm here in the Ithaca area of upstate New York.

For background, our house is a Victorian farmhouse from either 1850 or 1870 (we heard both in the sales process) and has about 2100 sq ft of floor area.  It's stud construction and sits on a vented stone basement with a part dirt/part concrete floor which is always damp at best, and often with standing water after rain.  A first round of energy efficiency improvements in the 1980s had seen the walls insulated (probably with blown in cellulose), about six inches of cellulose blown into the attic, and fiberglass installed between the ground floor joists.  Most of the windows are the original single pane Victorian casements (and are obviously drafty) but some have been replaced with double-paned windows probably in the 1960s.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012