Your house is in the news! – Home Energy Conservation
by Tim Snyder
“Look, honey! Our house is on TV. We made the 6:00 news!”
OK, I’ll ‘fess up. I used the exclamation above to get your attention. We both know that the chances of seeing our house in a news broadcast are pretty slim. But now that we’ve started this conversation, I’d like a chance to prove that my bogus headline has a lot more truth to it than you may believe.
Let’s start with some events that really ARE in the news –like the political instability that’s sweeping through the Middle East. Major oil-producing countries in this part of the world are in the throes of revolution. Whether these upheavals will have positive or negative results remains to be seen. But what we know right now is that petroleum production and transport could easily be disrupted in major ways. The embargo on Iranian oil complicates matters further, as does China’s growing demand for fossil fuels to power its fast-growing economy. Even the promise of abundant (and cheap) natural gas supplies from our own shale deposits is far from a sure thing, because hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) has been associated with water pollution and possible earthquake activity.
Today all fossil fuels are commodities in a highly competitive global marketplace. When a supply source in one region suddenly diminishes or gets cut off, the ripple effect is quickly felt on the other side of the world, presenting us with the double whammy of higher prices and more limited supplies. This explains the connection between our houses and the ongoing Arab Spring that’s receiving so much news coverage. The volatility of energy resources around the world is leading many homeowners here in the U.S. to place a high priority on home energy efficiency.
The good news about the uncertainty of energy resources is that we can do something about it, one home at a time. It’s a simple formula: Making your home more energy efficient means you’ll have less financial hardship when energy costs increase. Energy-saving upgrades like air sealing and additional insulation are especially attractive because you only pay for them once; they never require maintenance and they never wear out. These two improvements alone can cut your heating and cooling costs by as much as 40%.
Investing in home energy savings starts paying off right away; you don’t have to wait for the next oil spill or oil embargo. In addition to having more money in the bank, your more efficient home will also be more comfortable. So what are you waiting for? Your home will probably be in the news again tonight.