Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Carbon Map of U.S. Skewed By Geek's House

A bunch of scientists at Purdue university have produced an updated map of U.S. carbon emissions. As you can see from the red blotches, densely populated areas generally produce a lot of pollution, with the east coast emitting more than its fair share. What's surprising is that one of the largest blotches of carbon pollution appears to be blooming directly from my own home.

How do I know for sure that my house is to blame for all that carbon? Well, I knew it for sure in January, when I opened my gas bill and saw that I owed more than $250. < highpitchedscream > What?????? < /highpitchedscream >. And then I knew it again in February. Keep in mind that my winter thermostat is set at 62 while I'm awake and 58 when I'm asleep. That's not too warm, folks. I can't go any colder without endangering my pets.

I'm a quasi-environmentalist! I have a green-colored blog! How can I have $250 energy bills?

The answer to that question is both complicated AND annoying. First of all, the price of natural gas is really high right now. As I am not an energy trader, there's nothing I can do about that except to reduce my consumption. And since I refuse to turn the thermostat any lower, that means plugging leaks. Here is a short list of all the drafts I found in my home:

  • Windows: Lead paint-sealed-shut ancient in some cases. They do have storm windows, but they aren't helping much.
  • Electrical sockets: I could feel cold air blowing on my hand through the little holes.
  • Doors: Weatherstripping is worn away or missing. Letter slot is uninsulated.
  • Ductwork: Duct in unheated garage is leaking hot air and the insulation is ripped and falling apart.
  • Walls: Cold to the touch, possibly indicating that they lack sufficient insulation
That right there is a lot for a less-than-handyman with limited funds to tackle, but I'm trying. Stay tuned for updates on my progress. And yes, some progress has been made. But not much.

BTW: You can view the real carbon map here.


Mollyh said...

Good luck with your projects. I begged with my old landlord for years to improve the insulation and seals in my old apartment (with PG&E bills running $200 - $300 in the winter months). My new apartment has glorious new windows that are so efficient, I only had to turn the heat on once this winter.

Anonymous said...

do you know anything about solar panels?

Kashish Khattar said...

nice blog..
for more environmental information..