Sip, don’t gulp

As part of our ongoing effort to reduce our ecological footprint, we had our water heater replaced this morning. We’d been using an old electric water heater that consumed a lot of power but didn’t give us much in return. The replacement is a highly efficient gas model that should pay for itself in short order.

My next order of business is to repaint the house. For reasons I cannot begin to fathom, the last person who painted it decided it should be dark brown. This would make sense in North Dakota. It does not make sense in Oklahoma, where summer temperatures frequently exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Pretty, yes, but there’s a reason all the other houses around here are white or yellow. Evidently whoever selected the color did not understand why it’s hard to sell a black truck in Oklahoma.

I’m also experimenting with a passive solar heating and cooling project that involves window coverings. I’m thinking I can cut an automotive solar shield into sections and Velcro them to the south-facing windows to reflect heat away from the house. In the winter, I’ll take them down and hang up black plastic window shades to serve as solar air heaters — an idea I got from this Web site. (I am not normally inclined to buy books online in PDF format, but this one looks intriguing enough — and the free sample was worthwhile enough — that I will probably go ahead and spring for it. If it’s good, I will certainly post a review for you.)

Emily