Green living tip of the day

I go to a lot of educational programs on Green building. I think it matters here. We are in a temperate climate with both cold winters and hot summers. Our housing stock is old.
When I learned about geothermal heating, I was discouraged. It pays back slowly and doesn’t work well in New England’s winters. Solar power pays back well, but requires good roof exposure. Also better solar technologies are on the way; so waiting is not a bad idea. There are technologies out there that are painfully slow in getting to the consumers, like solar cells that look like roof shingle and solar systems that are on thin sheets. Wind power in Massachusetts? Well, I think you know.
Upton Sinclair’s expression, “It’s hard to get someone to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it” seems to hold true when it comes to Green building. There is a huge industry based on heating and cooling our houses the way we’ve been doing it for generations. Or is it more like Bill Clinton’s, “It’s the economy, stupid!” and we are just too close to the recession to fully retool.
As a pledge to not be part of the herd of brokers and builders who charge toward the expensive answers to your energy needs, I want to start a conversation about the simple (and cheaper) stuff you can do as the winter kicks in.
Tip of the day = insulated window treatments
Insulated window shades and curtains are very effective in lowering heating (and cooling) costs. I saw a modern high-tech building designed with timers to open and close shades for energy efficiency. You can use the low-tech tool — your hands — to do the same. Open the shades when it is sunny; close them at night. In the summer, do the opposite. Simple, effective, not very expensive.

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