Friday, July 27, 2007

All America

Sitting in a conference room on the 17th floor in Nashville, I was listening to a presentation by a couple of builders who are producing energy efficient housing.

"For a 3-5% increase in up front cost, we have houses that use 40% less energy than what is currently being built in Tennessee." Then he laid the clincher on me..."They never run out of hot water...never!"

Ok, sign me up. ...Although now that both boys are older and have "serious" girlfriends their showers are much shorter and there's hot water for the Dad.

Payback on these energy efficient homes is less than 5 years, even on the ones that go to extremes to save energy. The first 40% is easy though and fairly cheap, with a 3 year payback. So if you build a house to last 30 years, why wouldn't you go with one that saves you money for the last 25-27 years of that?

We saw a graph of historical petroleum demand since the 1920's and noticed the only two downturns in driven by the OPEC oil embargo when we as a nation decided to conserve energy and one when the original CAFE mileage standards went into effect, when we as a nation decided to conserve energy.

So here's the bottom line...There is no oil shortage. it is artificially created by the marketing department and oil lobbyists. if we as a nation decide to conserve energy again, the price of gas will drop back to a buck fifty fairly fast.

If everybody goes out right now and inflates their tires to the proper pressure, gas drops to Two bucks in the next 60 days, unless Bush bombs Iran.

So I have come up with a new campaign slogan for presidential candidates. We should "Fight 'em over here" so we won't have to "Fight 'em over there."

So you know those air machines at the gas stations? The ones where it costs you 75 cents to air up your tires? I say pass a law making air free and rip those babies out and replace them with the good old American classic "Free Air" pump, and while we're at it...

How about let's bring back water fountains? Buying water in a plastic bottle for $5.16 a gallon seems to be the greatest of all American stupidities.



For those interested in learning more, here is the nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for low energy homes. I'm thinking it's time for us to take this matter into our own hands.


  1. That's what gets me about the whole energy efficiency and independence issue: it is a major win for literally everyone. The more we conserve, the less energy we have to buy, which lowers demand, which lowers the already lower costs more.

    Energy conservation such a blatantly good idea, yet it is often the same people who wake up every morning crowing "free markets" who claim reducing emissions will destroy our economy. Bullshit! It will bring sanity ExxonMobil's quarterly earnings and to everyone else's monthly bills. It's nothing but a huge economic boost for everyone. It's even good for ExxonMobil in the long run.

    Yet our government policies remain geared toward short-term gains for the very few. It is nuts.

  2. As you well know, I have little tolerance for the crazies who think we can drill our way or "war" our way to enough energy.

    There's one way and one way only to bring peace to the middle east...make oil a low priced commodity. The only way to do that is turn away from it. I plan to publicize the stations with Free Air as a way to start. That's a 10% reduction in gas use right there.

  3. I agree with your takes on energy conservation and water. But I don't agree that we'd see a substantial drop in gas prices with modest (e.g., inflating tires) conservation.

    The oil market is tight. It's possible a few countries (e.g., Saudi Arabia) are holding back on production, but not many. And refineries are stretched to their limits. Unless there's a world-wide recession, demand will continue to grow, and I'm unconvinced that producers can keep up. Hence, higher prices.

  4. zoomfactor1:11 PM

    It will just take some gumption to create a tax on power usage, to use for creating an infrastructure to reduce reliance on fuel oil, coal, or whatever. There was overwhelming public support to do just this in Vermont this year - to tax the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to pay for a program to help homeowners reduce home-heating fuel consumption. But the Fuel Dealers Association and the Republican governor nixed it. Here in the TN valley, 10,000 residential customers VOLUNTARILY buy one or more $4 blocks of Green Power®. Can you imagine the benefits that could be reaped to prepare for the future if this was extended to all subscribers, through a small, barely noticeable tax? Heck, we pay through the nose to KUB already for water and sewer, to help them just catch up on the backlog of maintenance that they should have been doing all along, with minimal public outcry. What is the difference?