Fossil Fuel

Petroleum, Coal, Natural Gas, Crude Oil, Gasoline, Oil Shale, Tar Sands, etc.

Getting a Charge at OAK

OAK Airport - Electric Car Charging Stations

The EcoFamily recently flew (a direct flight) into OAK for a long-awaited vacation. Walking out of the airport we noticed a new addition to the parking lot; electric car charging stations. It turns out that those charging stations are FREE (beyond the cost of parking at OAK)!

Slow and Steady Brings Results

Tortoise and the Hare

Over the past several years I've made incremental improvements to the building envelope of our home. Adding insulation above the garage ceiling is the latest in a string of insulation and weather sealing DIY projects. My slow and steady wins the race approach has chipped away at our natural gas usage. But, have I come to the end of the low hanging fruit?

Our Jeans Keep Us Warm

Garage Ceiling Insulation

A few years ago we insulated our home's attic which made a huge difference in our heating bills. At the time we didn't insulate above the garage because I thought it was unconditioned space. But, the walls between our kitchen/living room and laundry room are poorly insulated - allowing lots of heat transfer between the house and garage. That makes the garage "indirectly-conditioned space" and in dire need of insulation.

Local Power and Clean Energy

Green Power to the People

How can a city shift to renewable energy when the local power utility is committed to fossil fuels? Boulder, CO has decided to "explore ... forming a city-owned utility". The Kit Carson Electric Coop in Taos, NM has a customer-owned solar array and other renewable energy purchase contracts. The City and County of Santa Fe, NM are researching creating their own publicly-owned electric utility.

Put Out to Pasture

Salvage Car ready for Auction

Our family listens to a lot of public radio and we even have three local stations to choose from. While I'm not a big fan of pledge drives, I understand the need for them. Recently, I've heard public radio (and TV) stations promoting Car Donation programs as another form of listener support. It just happens that we had an older car that was, ahem, 'fully depreciated' and worth almost nothing as a trade-in.

LED's for Nothing (almost) and Lumens for Free (not really)

AmbientLED bulb in lamp

If you live in New Mexico and are a customer of PNM - here's a deal for you. $10 off (at the register) two different Philips AmbientLED light models at New Mexico Home Depot stores. What's the catch? This discount is only available through July 31, 2012. If you buy the Philips 12-watt AmbientLED (60-watt replacement) soft-white light the price is below $5 per 'bulb' (before tax).

Hitch your Wagon to a Bike

Schwinn Speedster with Bike Trailer

Being an EcoDaddyo, and a cyclist, I bike around our fair city whenever possible. Given the short in-town distances we drive, biking is an easy alternative. Recently, we enrolled our eco-kid in daycare and I'm usually on pick up duty. I was happy to find that this is easy with our new dad-powered, bicycle-pulled kid trailer.

A Thermostat That's Smarter by Half

Albert Einstein

Last fall I installed a 'smarter' thermostat as our old bimetal thermostat had started short-cycling the furnace. A local hardware store had a sale on programmable thermostats for $25, and I installed one that day. Within a day or two I had the thermostat programmed to our preferences and I haven't touched it since. The one question remaining - is the new 'smart' thermostat more energy efficient than the old 'dumb' one?

I can happily say that the new programmable thermostat IS more energy efficient!

Too Cool in the Kitchen

Oven Glow Bar Igniter

If you can't stand the heat in the kitchen, your oven is probably working. We had the opposite problem recently - a decidedly cool kitchen. After weeks of our oven taking longer and longer to heat up, it suddenly stopped heating at all. Thanks to a classic Fix-It-Yourself book, Google and a bit of DIY troubleshooting I found the problem. The Glow Bar Igniter in our oven was no longer heating sufficiently to start the gas oven. Happily, it was an easy fix.

$25 Thermostat vs. $250 Thermostat

$25 Programmable Thermostat - installed

Would you rather pay $25 or $250 for an electronic thermostat? What if the $250 thermostat is incredibly sleek, artificially intelligent, and Wi-Fi networked? Would that be enough to sway you? Fortunately, the $250 thermostat was completely sold out which made my choice easy. That and I'm way too cheap to blow 10 times more money for furnace bling.

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