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 by waterfalls – I have landed near Brunswick, Maine, surrounded by oceans and pines – and an active network of people involved in sustainability and all things energy.
There’s FW Horch on Main Street where Fred Horch, a Berkeley law school graduate, sells earth-saving, consumer-friendly products, like compact fluorescent bulbs. Next to the bulbs, Efficiency Maine displays rebate coupons — also found at Lowe’s. (I have the good fortune to work with not only Efficiency Maine, but Rick Karg an energy consultant who trains the contractors in the Maine Home Performance program set up by Governor Baldacci.) Maine Interfaith Power & Light sells green tags. Independence BioFuel sells BioHeat heating oil and biodiesel fuel.
Maine is home to Heather Chandler’s SunriseGuide, a compilation of information and resources, coupled with coupons, to support a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Dwell Creative, an advertising and public relations group out of Portland, Maine, designed the Guide.
Gotta love this publication and its creators; the Guide and the website are beautiful, easy to read and navigate. Dwell shouts: “Don’t $#!* where you dwell. We make a living in an already deceitful industry. Let’s not junk it up any further with meaningless messages promoting consumption as a way of life. And pick up after yourself too.”)
TC Hazzard, my second cousin and an attorney in Biddeford, Maine, is getting closer to zero and perhaps closer to certification as a Maine Home Performance contractor — which is how we came to know one another. TC forwarded to me the McKinsey Global Institute’s November report on the microeconomics of energy productivity. So alongside the Guide, I read McKinsey:
“An end-use perspective shows that consumers drive more than half the global energy demand. After allocating power-sector-energy consumption and losses to end-use sectors, we show that 50 percent of total energy demand and 60 percent of developed world demand currently comes from sectors with the key characteristics of consumer goods—residential (25 percent of total demand); road transport (16 percent); commercial (10 percent); and air transport (2 percent).”
After the sun sets – at the unholy hour of 4pm – I stave off depression and the bottle with a brisk walk with the dog around the shops in Freeport, Maine, the home of LL Bean. LL Bean is said to incorporate biodiesel and propane fuel into company vehicles – to reduce truck emissions. In Freeport, McDonald’s and Friendly’s hide in old colonials. Sasha, the dog, ecstatically sniffs for places to lift her leg (yes, she lifts). More soberly, I peer into the windows of J Crew, Reebock, Coach, Banana Republic and confirm that I have already purchased these sweaters and purses and belts (at least once already) in my life. It’s not so much that I don’t need more; I don’t want more stuff, Black Friday be damned.
Sasha dog and I order Mo Po Dofu from China Rose on the main drag in Freeport. My fortune cookie says, “You are going to have some new clothes.”
Other goings on this week:
When his all-purpose-van was stolen in Manhattan, what was an energy guy to do? Buy a replacement hybrid of course!