Monday, December 04, 2006

Saving energy in Burlington

For the past few days I've been the temporary sixth housemate at a sustainable-challenged testosterone-filled house in South Burlington. My new friends include Matt, Pat, Bill, Shane, and two Phils - for whom I am thankful for being so hospitable and welcoming me into their home and lives. As with most homes I've stayed in, I am thankful to find the time to cook for myself and I enjoy providing nourishment for others in the house as well. From the first night I was here I've been comfortable picking on everyone about their (sometimes poor) eating habits. Perhaps I've been having an impact, at least temporarily, in providing healthy foods to those who partake in my cooking and in educating about vegetarian eating. Bill's Atkins diet is new for me to try to accommodate but I was even able to bake something that he could (we think) eat without a problem - so called "fun nuggets"!

The biggest challenge I've faced is trying to change this house's energy awareness and usage. I will give them credit for already using many CFLs, having energy-saving appliances, and, this being a new house with a good building seal, good thermal insulation. The major issues are with electronics being left on continuously (there must be at least eight computers and an equal number of big screen TVs throughout the house)! In between running around the house shutting off lights everywhere I go, I ask others to do the same, and well, hopefully there has been some adjustment of behavior that will last longer than just my time here. But even if only temporarily, I figured I've saved several kilowatts of power during my time here.

Some of the random fun things I've done this week: Visited Recycle North, a thrift shop and building materials reuse center that offers training programs on fixing electronics and appliances and sells them to the community at low cost; Listened to some great musicians in Montpelier and Burlington, including many of the guys in this house (great job at Radio Bean, Matt!); Watched a local late-night TV show directed by Bill; Became hostess for an office holiday party (GE of all companies!); Heard Laurie David, producer of An Inconvenient Truth, speak at UVM and had some great conversations critiquing her un-inspiring statistics-filled talk; Took a great meditative walk along a nearby river and walked through a bird sanctuary.

Burlington is really beautiful, peaceful, community-minded, and a lot of fun. I'm especially enjoying the first snowfall that actually stuck to the ground today, with more coming down right now as the sun sets. I'm ever in awe of nature's beauty...

Check out the new pics I've added to my album, including this one out at the Vermont Pub & Brewery.

Make new friends and connect openly with everyone you meet! Synchronicities in life afford many amazing experiences!

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