thoughts on energy consumption
Right now we’re playing the dual household game, which is all well and good minus the dual household part. Tonight we came back to the “house” from the “cabin.” The “house” being the one of the two that’s for sale. Now to be sure, the “house” is fairly cabin-ish in its own regard and though it has central heat and air, during the winter I prefer to heat it with wood and use the heat pump as a back up. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
It’s a really good house. We built it 15 years ago after we couldn’t find anything that met our approval. We bought the lumber from a private mill which means its bones are way stronger than the average house. But, that’s not what I want to talk about. I’m off topic. It’s the fireplace that I want to draw your attention to. It isn’t your ordinary fireplace. It’s a Country Flame fireplace, which means it’s really more of a furnace that looks like a fireplace. It’s big. And when I say big, I mean if I wanted to put a three foot log in it, I could. But it also has its own duct system which runs to the back rooms of the house. Combine that with some quality firewood and an open floor plan, that fireplace can heat the entire house without much effort and only costs what it costs to run the fan.
This is really just leading up to a conversation I was having with myself earlier.
When we got home from the cabin I had to build a fire. I was pondering the kinds of people who would be interested in this place and pondered the idea that a lot of people don’t like fireplaces anymore… too much trouble… too messy… too blah blah blah. Give ‘em a gas log and a knob they can turn and as long as the gas keeps flowing they’ve got a fire that looks pretty. And doesn’t do much else.
And the more I think about it… that’s just one more part of the problem when it comes to energy consumption. Hang with me…
Somewhere in all that I thought about the practicality of everyone needing to cut firewood. That’s a lot of firewood. Maybe too much. But, then I realized that it’s a lot of firewood because I’m basing it off the size of the average American home. Which is generally pretty big and not designed with air flow in mind. Meaning, to overcome the design inefficiencies you’re going to need more wood burning options. Which means more firewood… which you’re going to have to gather.
In other words, if you’re solely responsible for generating the fuel needed to heat your home. The bigger and less efficient your home is, the more energy you’re going to have to expend.
All of which makes perfect sense if you’re like me and have to go cut and split you’re own firewood. But when we can just flip a switch, we’re still exerting the same amount of energy, but it’s coming from an energy source that we’re disconnected from. Which means, beyond money out of our bank account, we’re clueless to the degree of inefficiency we’ve surrounded ourselves with.
It’s just another example of the disconnect we’ve created with the natural world. When we surround ourselves with virtual worlds and facades we lose touch with the real. And while it may seem harmless, it’s hard for us to collectively make decisions about something that we don’t begin to understand.
I guess what I’m saying is… Rip out the gas log. Open up the old chimney flue. Go cut some wood and and you’ll begin to understand what I’m talking about.
Or… just buy my house so I can get out to the cabin.
In the mean time… live well… laugh often… love always.