Entries by Heather Rae

White Appliances

by Heather Rae I went to Sears. I went to Home Depot. I went to the regional appliance store, Agren Appliance, and drooled over a Fisher & Paykel refrigerator. Agren had already sold me a Fisher & Paykel clothes washer and dryer. I opted for an older washer model, the same one that I had […]

Renovation: Do No Harm

The physician’s credo “first, do no harm” could be the first rule of home renovation. I took a crowbar to the 1/8″ plywood that a previous owner had nailed over the original floor-to-ceiling bead board in the summer kitchen of this 1880 house. Yanking and cracking, wearing a face mask, and blaspheming, it darts through […]

Green Theory, Green Practice.

by Heather Rae The bank and I closed on the 1880 Federal-style house two weeks ago. The renovation possibilities that earlier filled me with giddy excitement are now all around me: the old wood floors, the near floor-to-ceiling windows, the high ceilings and the old summer kitchen that juts out behind the boxy structure of […]

Turns Me Off

by Heather Rae I drove along a dirt road to a place in the woods where the plow had left a berm of snow. Sasha, the cocker spaniel, and I continued on foot along a path, crunching through the ice-caked snow. The natural and architectural beauty of Sheepscot, Maine Hollywood could not hope to imitate. […]

The more things change…

by Heather Rae My favorite book on clean energy is Energy for Survival: the Alternative to Extinction written by Wilson Clark and published in 1975. I was barely in high school then. It wouldn’t be for another 20 years that I would hear the words ‘compact fluorescent bulb’ and another 28 before I would discover […]

Green Fringe

by Heather Rae Reading the New York Times Real Estate section is like pulling off the toenail of your little toe. In a world where the price of habitation climbs into the cool millions, this sweet torture leaves you bleeding and worrying for your sanity. You don’t really need the toe or the toenail, and […]

Proposed: National Center for Sustainable Technologies

by Heather Rae The Brunswick Naval Air Station on the midcoast of Maine is on the Pentagon’s list: the base realignment and closure process, a recurring cost-cutting procedure, also known by the acronym BRAC, has targeted the Brunswick station for closure in 2011. In April 2005, The Times Record ran an editorial by Walt Rosen, […]

God’s Country

by Heather Rae The whipping winds of central Spain and the sultry, slow-spinning blades of wind turbines play central roles in Pedro Almodovar’s most recent creation, “Volver.” One of Almodovar’s women sighs, “este maldito viento se vuelve loca la gente.” (“This hellish wind drives people crazy.”) To me, a student in Madrid the summer of […]

Maine: a market for solar

Is there enough sunshine — and consumer drive — to sustain a solar market in Maine? You betcha. EnergyWorks, LLC operates out of Liberty, Maine and is busily expanding. It recently opened a Portland office and is eyeing the business market in Waldo County, a stretch of Maine’s coastline. Maine Housing webstats show Waldo County […]

You Say Climate Change, I Say Global Warming

Diane Dandaneau, Executive Director of the ConservEd Project and Colorado Interfaith Power & Light, is back from Nashville, Tennessee. She is one of the talented 1000, chosen to attend Al Gore’s training sessions on global warming.* “It was amazing!” she tells me this evening from Colorado. Attending The Climate Project sessions are NASA scientists, biologists, […]

Coming Soon to a World Near You

Richard Stuebi wrote, astutely, of energy efficiency: “What happened to efficiency? Renewable energy is wonderful and did well in the past year, but unfortunately, there were few significant developments on the energy efficiency front. Oh, sure, there were more LEED buildings, fluorescent light sales continued to increase, and hybrid cars are no longer a curiosity. […]

A Green Christmas

Friday. Brunswick, Maine.Rain pours down on the Cuddy Seafood truck where lobstermen sell their morning’s haul. Environment Maine reports, “to the south in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, ocean temperatures have increased enough to make lobsters more susceptible to disease, and as a result, populations have plummeted.” Lobsters play a bit part in my family’s […]

A Prius Among Weeds: Product Placement

Like your product placement unsubtle, overt and obvious? Watch for the bottle of New Belgium Brewery’s Fat Tire beer in “Fast Food Nation.” In it, Bruce Willis plays a character who sells meat to the nearly-fictional Mickey’s, a fast food burger chain whose marketing guy (Greg Kinnear) is trying to figure out why “there’s s*** […]

Pulse and Glide: Getting the Most out of Hybrid Marketing

Rick Karg of RJ Karg Associates is a long-time energy consultant. He drove to Manhattan to visit his brother for Thanksgiving and spent turkey day at the police station filing a report. Someone stole off with his van. Back home in Maine, Rick replaced his tried and true sailboat-hauler with a Toyota Highlander – complete […]

Black Friday Be Damned

Energy has taken front seat at warp speed. We’ve been here before (energy is all the rage…again!) My life is changing gears, downshifting for a ride into managing an energy project in the built environment. After a month of training in home performance in Ithaca, New York – living in the brae bio-bus and soothed […]

Biodiesel BINGO: Destination Maine

On an early November morning, a dense fog covers the scenic drive over the Berkshires, crossing from New York State to Massachusetts. The brae bio-bus dutifully pulls the Subaru on its car transport up steep hills and around hair-pin turns. I am no singer but belt out show tunes that chronicle each sight and sound, […]

Biodiesel BINGO (Part IV): Pennsylvania to New York

Wednesday, November 8th I fill up the brae bio-bus fuel tank at Salem Oil near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, and replenish one of the 5-gallon on-board containers. The price per gallon for this animal fat/soy blend is $3.50. Already the bio-bus sounds and smells better as I head along Route 14 to Route 18 in Pennsylvania. […]

Biodiesel BINGO (Part III): Illinois to Ohio

Wednesday, November 1 As I head east from Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa disappoint in my search for biodiesel. Route 34 in Illinois is more promising, though the prices for both biodiesel and diesel are steeper. I stop at a BP/Amoco station in Monmouth, Illinois that offers B11 – and another ethanol pamphlet, again from the […]

Biodiesel BINGO (Part II): Nebraska to Iowa

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 Heading east, Route 76 connects with I-80 at the Nebraska border where BP/Amoco stations begin to appear frequently. Since BP postures its leadership in clean energy in just about every venue except knicker labels, I stop at their stations or peer at their signage looking for signs of biodiesel. The BP […]

Biodiesel BINGO: the brae bio-bus travel log

My profuse thanks to Tim and Robyn Chilson of Brookdale Family Campground in Meadville, PA for their positive spirit and for putting the brae bio-bus (with her new fuel filter) back on the road! In the game of Biodiesel BINGO, B2 is a 2% blend, B11 is an 11% blend, and B0 is a losing […]