Categorized | Publisher's Letter

Greenie in training

Over the last couple of years, I have struck up a relationship of sorts with a few people that I would consider greenies. This isn’t meant as a derogatory term; it is just the label I give people that willfully ignore economics because being “green” is that important to them. They are the pioneers of a movement—and thank goodness they are because it has to start with someone.

Admittedly, I’m not there yet. While I do choose paper over plastic, stay away from Styrofoam, and properly dispose of used motor oil, I still drive a thirsty V-8, water my grass as needed, and lose little sleep over of my carbon footprint. Now you know where I am coming from. If I can save money and be socially responsible, I’m all for it. Ask me to pay $1.75 more for that floor cleaner, however, and I don’t think so; you must have me mistaken for someone else.

Ironically, it is this shallow mindset that Wally Conway from HomePro Inspections picked up on. He said the magic words I wanted to hear, “I will show you how you can lower your energy bills in your home and save the planet at the same time.” Now we’re talking, I thought. “When can you come over?” I asked.

Wally and Phillip showed up right on schedule. Armed with equipment, they unpacked right inside my front door. Elaborate fans, infrared scanners, probes, and other stuff I didn’t recognize, but it instantly brought back memories of the movie “Ghostbusters.”

Wally took me aside and showed me my energy usage patterns from the JEA website on his laptop. A few calculations of electric, sewer, and gas created a baseline from which I would measure my future energy saving efforts.

Phillip was busy doing whatever “energy busters” do, which includes peeking behind my walls, inspecting weather stripping, and measuring the air tightness of my home. The special cameras showed me how much heat was entering my home on a warm summer day.

Finally, the curiosity got to me and I blurted out, “How much is your energy bill, Wally?” He said, “$58 bucks a month,” with a proud grin. I looked at him with astonishment as if I just witnessed him walking on water.

He was quick to point out that results are different for everyone and there is a trade-off for all of life’s creature comforts. For example, most would not be interested in taking cold showers to save $10 in a month in heating water. (Try convincing your spouse of that behavior modification!)

After an extensive review, Wally and Phillip left, but not before giving me lots of homework—improving insulation, sealing windows, switching to low-heat light bulbs, just to name a few. I haven’t completed everything yet, but the review did put me in a different mindset. It’s sort of a game for me now, with the score card coming in the form of my utility bill.

What I learned about this experience to move toward green is that it is a marathon, not a sprint, and I still have a lot to learn. A greenie in training, I guess.

Until next time,

Brian Barquilla

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