Entries by Heather Rae

Chrysalis & Catharsis

by Heather Raefor cleantechblog.com In three days, my right love and I will walk down the aisle of an historic church overlooking Damariscotta Lake, and we will take our marriage vows. This marriage is a chrysalis of joy, love, passion and unequivocal devotion. We met at a bookstore cafe in the early spring. He was […]

Seal It Up

by Heather Raefor cleantechblog.com The basement in my 1880 house is a combination of ledge and dirt floor. In the 24′ by 34′ footprint, where once there was a brick cistern, there is now a heating oil tank. The copper plumbing undulated, making repairs expensive. I’ve had the copper replaced with a clean, organized PEX […]

Bright Green

by Heather Raefor cleantechblog.com The last sips of the French merlot finished dry, and the just uncorked Italian sangiovese began too chocolatey, so I looked — left and right in the empty kitchen — and blended the two together in a wine glass. I have been taught that this is not done; oenephiles may shudder. […]

Renovation Disorders

by Heather Rae for cleantechblog.com During my summer hiatus from writing for cleantechblog, the focus of my house renovation shifted to landscaping and miscellaneous demolition. Eight giant willow trees and two large spruce that blocked winter sun came down. John and James chopped them into mulch which I dispersed on the expanded gardens. The gardens […]


by Heather Raefor cleantechblog.com A $517.47 invoice for the installation of a rented 120 gallon propane tank arrived with disturbing alacrity. The service person had done an excellent job digging a trench, drilling the hole through the house wall, installing the (unobtrusively brown) regulator, connecting the gas line to the new on-demand water heater and […]

"Buy Wind Power, It’s a Breeze"

by Heather Rae (8/1/07) The Natural Resource Council of Maine (NRCM) sponsored a tour of the Mars Hill wind farm this past Saturday. I went along to represent Maine Interfaith Power & Light (MeIPL) and to talk about Wind Watts, the renewable energy certificates (RECs) generated by the 28 turbine, 42MW project. MeIPL is the […]

Ladylike, On-Demand

by Heather Rae for cleantechblog.com I am little like Princess Diana…soft, ethereal, ladylike, glowing, demure. I was even less like her as a pudgy college student, laying over in a very hot July Madrid, waiting for a flight back to the United States. The two Madrilena widows who ran a pensione out of their sprawling […]


by Heather Raefor cleantechblog.com I stopped telling people that I spent my July 4th holiday removing the ducts from the basement. The statement evoked a quizzical look. They pictured me shooing a quacking flock from the house. I did not want to agree with a colleague who replied, ‘Ah, you’re committed!’ because it feels like […]


by Heather Raefor cleantechblog.com Not so very many moons ago, I was job hunting in the Washington, DC area. Inherently shy, job hunting has always filled me with dread. On this occasion, a divorce from a Hong Kong dynasty had added a deep layer of self-doubt. My mate at the time circled ads in the […]

Marketing into the Void

by Heather Raefor cleantechblog.com A chunk of my responsibilities in managing a home performance project is marketing the concept of home performance to homeowners, contractors, affiliates, trade allies, funding partners and…just about everyone. The challenge is to create awareness (and undying desire for the service) by homeowners, and awareness (and unwavering desire for providing the […]

A Head-Knocker

by Heather Rae for cleantechblog.com Consider a basement, a typical basement in rural Maine. Call is what it is — a cellah — a five foot high, dirt-floored head-knocker, with a boulder emerging from beneath its easternmost foundation wall. Add some radon, as radon is pervasive in these parts. Throw down some plastic sheathing; ‘affix’ […]

Not What You Want to Hear

by Heather Raecleantechblog.comJames Prentice and John Whitworth showed up a few weeks ago upon a recommendation from a trusted source. They are the Balsam Group: Integrated Alternative Building Solutions for the Environmentally Aware Homeowner. They call their design process, Function Form, and it starts with an examination of a clients’ needs. I have called them […]

EE & McKinsey

by Heather Raewww.cleantechblog.com E&ETV covered a May 17th presentation by McKinsey Global Institute on their recent report, “Curbing Global Energy Demand Growth: The Energy Productivity Opportunity.” You can view the presentation via E&ETV (subscription required). On the future of global energy demand, Diana Farrell, director of the Institute, said: “Demand side may be the most […]

Freedom Wind Flap

by Heather Rae, cleantechblog.com What of personal responsibility? It’s the crux of an article on vehicle idling last week in The Coastal Journal: take personal responsibility and turn off that engine, it says. My neighbor — who thinks Al Gore is the only one to benefit from ‘that movie’ as well as the hullabaloo over […]

Ups & Downs

by Heather Rae, cleantechblog.com On about the eighth hour of scraping the lead paint off of the exterior of the old summer kitchen this weekend, the word, ‘torch’ comes to my mind. My mind wanders in the tedium; my moods mercurial. Take a torch to it, I think. The thought wings away; I envision a […]

Dear Sam

Dear Sam, We met at the narrow, cavernous bar in the Philadelphia Airport. You were heading home to Ohio from Maine, a business trip. I was heading home to Maine from Ohio, a business trip. You were in Maine to refurbish a commercial building in a long-time-ailing, once-industrial town. I was in Ohio to learn […]

ACI Conference 2007

by Heather Rae Cleveland hosts the 21st ACI Home Performance Conference this week. Over 1,000 people registered to exchange information about “house as a system” building design and operation. ACI President, Laura McNaughton, greets attendees, “As this conference opens, the issue of climate change and the urgent need for affordable energy present both environmental challenges […]

The Party’s Over

by Heather Rae This past Friday, I put down the crowbar and power-downed the computer and drove to Portland to speak about home performance at a workshop, “Global Warming, Cool Solutions.” The workshop was part of a one-day conference called “Achieving Global Energy Security.” Held in a LEED Gold-designated building, it was a provocative day […]


by Heather Rae It must have been the mid-70s, because my brother, sister and I could fit together comfortably on the library couch. It must have been a Friday night, because we were deep into an episode of The Brady Bunch. The Public Service Announcement might have come on, the one with a man’s most […]

Clearing the Way

by Heather Rae This past week I went by my town office to pick up a copy of the guidelines for the town’s “holding area.” In Montgomery County, Maryland this place was called “the beauty spot,” a rural transfer station for waste to be, more or less, properly disposed. It was proven to be an […]