Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Home is where the hearth is

Never mind what the official first day of fall is. For me, the start of the cool season is the day I turn on the furnace. I hear the whumf as it chugs to life after a months long sleep. It's like I've revived the patient. His heart beats once again. I feel the subtle shift in pressure as the fan starts pushing the air around. A gas fired warmth flows out from the floor vents.

I live in an old house. I've seen it identified on a city planner's map from the 1880s. When I had the roof shingles replaced a few years ago, the workers dug up four layers of various roofing materials including the original, and mostly rotted, cedar shakes and hand made nails. There are tree trunks in the basement holding up the joists. There is a certain allure to living in a house with history but it's predicted we will have a colder winter this year and when faced with another season of drafts and cold floors and plastic film on windows, there are days when I would gladly trade yesterday's charm for tomorrow's technology.

To live in comfort. To see the end of utility bills. To decrease the damage upon the Earth's ecology. To be free from the seemingly intransigent structures modern living and modern comfort are so dependent upon. This is what is embodied in the pursuit of a net zero house, a passive house, a green house - call it what you will.

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