Wednesday, October 15, 2008

22 years later

While unpacking, I found some outlet insulation. It turned out that all these years, the outlets on the outside walls hadn't been insulated.

Here's the during picture:

And a close-up of the insulation outlet thingie:

And after:

This all seems pretty simple, but it reminds me that I spent the summer of 1986 doing this in Santa Cruz. Funded by Pacific Gas and Electric, a team of 20 students and recent graduates earned $12/hour visiting EVERY house in the City of Santa Cruz that had an electric or gas meter. If the resident (homeowner or renter) wanted, we did a quick energy audit, installed some outlet covers, covered their hot water heater, gave tips, left materials, and let them know how they could get further work done.

(and according to
that's $24 in 2008

(We did this for about four months, which means the labor cost would have been
40 hours*12 $/hour*20 people * 13 weeks = $125,000 in 1986 dollars for paid labor,
and a quarter million dollars in today's money (figure one to two million dollars total for admin support, materials & labor).

I wish I could tell you what the cost per watt saved ($/negawatt) was, but I've called the city of Santa Cruz and PGE and the report seems to have been lost. More than one person has said that getting info out of PGE is like pulling teeth.

And what does this have to do with the coming wave of unemployment, high heating bills, and the need to retrofit US housing stock to work towards reduced carbon emissions so that we can get our atmosphere to 350 parts per million of carbon?

I'll let you make that connection.
But here's a link or two to look at in the meantime.

If you want to buy some of these, they cost 33 cents each.

They might also have them at

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