I hear there was a big concert on the Mall on Sunday to celebrate Earth Day, with Flaming Lips and all. I wasn’t there. Instead my husband and I were adding insulation to the roof and walls of part of our condo. That seemed a more fitting way to honor Mom Earth, actually, with apologies to the Flaming Lips.
Adding insulation is not glamorous. In fact it is a nasty job, particularly if you need to remove the old stuff and in the process discover that your roof has probably been leaking since before they began numbering wars. The manufacturer assures us all that the fiberglass itself won’t mold, but…ick!...there’s definitely some funk up there. So, while my skin is irritated, my mind is righteous. The pathetic and slipshod job the original renovators did on our building is being remedied at last. R-30 in the roof. Rigid on the wall. Foil-faced R-max, baby. That’s right. Bring on the heat. We’re ready.
But no news crews came to film our Earth Day activities. It’s not photogenic, and neither am I buttoned up in full battle dress, gloves, N95 mask, goggles, every stray hair up in a bandana. No pictures please. And in the end, with the drywall up and painted there will be no sign of all that work, except the subtle difference in the ambient temperature and the not-so-subtle difference in our electric bill.
We hear over and over that the biggest difference we can make in energy use begins with conservation, and conservation begins with paying careful attention to our present situations: our houses, transportation, diets, consumption. The idea? Insulation before green bling. But the bling gets all the attention. PV panels! Hybrids! Trombe walls—they’re French! Flaming lips!
Insulation just isn’t sexy. Sure Brad Pitt is out there doing his darndest, but he’s focusing on cute new houses for areas that probably should be surrendered to the sea at this point. Why isn’t he pitching caulk? Or maybe George Clooney (the thinking woman’s Pitt) could replace that stupid pink panther. That’s pretty stale and the recent remakes haven’t helped. Can