By now most of you who actually take the time to look for this column at the back of The Rockaway Times each week are aware that I have not penned anything of note over the past several weeks. The whispers surrounding the reason for my absence were numerous and often outlandish—drugs, arrested, abducted by aliens, bitten by a duck, etc. To all of you rumor-mongers out there, you're all wrong. I was simply busy immersing myself in the today’s new "Green" movement and allowing my environmental awareness to blossom. Case in point....
The “Green Movement” is in full swing on West 12th Road, as evidenced by the fact that many people riding down West 12th Road these days are pulling up short midway down the street when they come upon the sight of a new construction log house to replace the original residence lost during Super Storm Sandy in 2012. I know what you’re thinking… “How are log homes ‘green’? They use logs from trees, and isn’t killing trees wrong?”
Today’s environmentally-conscious builders opt for materials from sustainable forests, which means the trees are grown specifically for the purpose of being cut down. By having a supply of trees from a renewable, sustainable source, the rest of the world’s forests can be saved. So, all you tree-huggers out there can keep your powder dry. Additionally, from what I have been told, log homes are great at maintaining temperature and conserving energy. This is due to the size of the logs and their ability to absorb heat during the day and radiate it at night. This helps keep the home comfortable without having to rely as much on your HVAC.
According to several studies, homes constructed with solid log walls are generally 2.5% to 15% more energy efficient than standard stick-frame construction. Additionally, how can you go wrong? Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin and he turned out OK. There is also another rumor out there that Chuck Norris was also born in a log cabin that he built with his bare hands in Oklahoma back in 1940. (Yeah, I know some of you out there will have to think about that last one.)
I have also decided to embrace my inner "Green" and recently availed myself of a program sponsored by ConEd and had over 40 incandescent light bulbs swapped out for more energy-efficient LED lights, which they claimed would help me in reducing my consumption of energy, and thus, lower my ConEd bill.
Initially I was hesitant to go with this program after it was explained to me that the new LEDs would generate just as much light but hardly any heat as compared to my old incandescent fixtures and thus consume much less electricity. "Sure," I said, "but what about the heat that I will be losing during the winter with new LEDs...won't my home-heating fuel bill go through the roof?" They assured me that the new LEDs would not prompt an increase in my home-heating expenses during the winter so I went with the program, but I will be keeping a close eye on my oil bills nonetheless.
My inner "Green" has also seen my involvement with home solar panels. Until just recently, I have always understood solar panel power to mean that the sun shines down on the earth and the solar panel catches the light and then transmits it deep underground to help miners find coal, which is then used to fire a furnace, which heats water to produce steam, which is then used to spin a turbine which generates electricity, which ConEd sends down the line to my home and charges me like a loan shark for it. The solar panel outfit patiently explained that I could bypass the miners, furnace, turbine and, most importantly, ConEd, and use the sunlight myself to generate electricity. At first I felt bad about stealing the sunlight from all those miners but then I figured, the hell with them, they can always use flash lights with little LEDs in them to keep finding their coal.
Not one to do anything half way, I am also in the process of replacing my two monster 28000 BTU air conditioners (which when both of them are operating, spin my electric meter like a frisbee) for a supposedly energy-efficient ductless HVAC (mini-split) system. Truth be told, my environmental consciousness had nothing to do with my decision in this matter. I was sold on this system as soon as I realized that it's efficiency would serve to further lessen any dependency on ConEd and its excessive energy charges.
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