Almost three weeks ago, my family moved to a new home. As much as I love it here, I’m finding that I’m missing our old home’s energy systems, which were fairly sustainable from a climate crisis perspective. Over the course of our decade-long occupancy, we had gradually replaced all the existing appliances with new EnergyStar models, and all the lighting with CF sources. We phased out our furnace and learned how to heat entirely with wood, a renewable local resource we burned in a catalytic stove. Our hot water came from electricity, which in Vermont comes largely from our one nuke plant and from Hydro-Quebec. (I know both of those sources have some serious environmental problems associated with them, problems for which I’ve actually been arrested protesting, but from a carbon POV, they’re alright.).
Now we do it all with oil. And because the new place has no basement, the furnace sits in a utility room directly behind my home office. Whenever anyone runs the hot water longer than 15 seconds or so, I hear it kick it in and burn, burn, burn. The carbon counter in my head starts spinning. It’s driving me completely nuts, and the heat’s not even on yet. Combine that with old appliances, too much track lighting, and a wood stove so ancient it looks like Ben Franklin himself built it, and I’ve suddenly got an energy problem.