An Excess of Energy

The one thing, the only thing, that will encourage substitution of an alternate fuel is increasing the cost of the primary fuel relative to the cost of the alternate fuel. For example, walking to the store is 15 minutes, but gasoline is $4.33 per gallon, so one might choose to walk more often than drive.

Like an excess of food encourages obesity, an excess of cheap energy also encourages large houses. We have one built in 1998, which is somewhere between 2,800 and 3,300 square feet, and not as well-insulated as we would like. Heating oil this coming season looks to be around $5.10 per gallon. Thus we’re trying to decide among several different types of wood-burning appliances, from free-standing stoves, to high-efficiency fireplaces, to furnaces. The catalogs I’ve perused mostly contain units which are designed to heat areas of 1,500 sq. ft. or so. This is most readily apparent in those from Scandinavian companies: RAIS does not even bother to make units capable of heating 3,000 sq. ft. A geothermal heat pump might also be an option.

So now we have an obese house. It needs to slim down some now that bread is dear. In the meantime, we’re switching to Wonder® Bread.