©2013 Green Building Advisor. From The Taunton Press, Inc., publisher of Fine Homebuilding Magazine.
With apologies to Dr. Seuss
Down in Who-ville
Loves the Energy Fair
When Whos get together
To vie and compare
Their energy use — their utility charges —
To see whose is smaller, Milton’s or Marge’s.
To win the grand prize (a bouquet of flowers)
A Who has to limit his kilowatt hours.
The Grinch who resided just north of the valley,
Burned tank-loads of gas — What an energy tally!
The Grinch hated saving! He shouted, “Who cares!
Global warming is good! I hate Energy Fairs!”
He hated the contest; he hated the season!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that his head wasn’t screwed on quite right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
But, whatever the reason — his heart or his shoes —
He just hated the Fair and all of the Whos.
He looked down from his cave with a sourpuss frown
At the triple-glazed windows below in their town,
And despised every Who down in Who-ville below
With their dual-flush toilets (all super-low-flow).
“They’re swapping their light bulbs!” he said with a sneer.
“Tomorrow is Fair Day! I hate that it’s here!
“Conservation is bad!” he exclaimed with a sigh,
“I must find a way to keep energy bills high!”
If a load isn’t needed, a Who pulls the plug.
To the Grinch, though, these Whos all appeared to be smug.
They limit their driving — they bike off to work,
With a smile that looks to the Grinch like a smirk.
He boycotted all of the Fair Day events —
The solar displays and the vegan food tents —
And the more the Grinch thought of the energy fling,
The more that he thought, “I must stop this whole thing!
Why, for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now!
So I must stop the Fair — I’m just not sure how.”
Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
The Grinch got a wonderful, awful idea!
“I know just what to do to stop all those fools!”
Said the Grinch as he grabbed some equipment and tools.
“I need a few things — maybe 12 attic fans,
And I’ll grab a full case of new recessed cans!
I know just how to teach all those Whos several lessons!
I’ll grab a few dozen of these incandenscents!
You think you’re so smart? Well, ladies and gents,
Watch and see what I do with these passive air vents!”
Then he loaded some bags and a big gunny sack
On his Ford Expedition's huge overhead rack,
And drove to the town where the Whos were asleep,
All dreaming of energy retrofits deep.
The Whos’ windows were dark — just a few LEDs
Could be glimpsed here and there through the leaves of the trees.
The Grinch parked near a house with a solar array
And a vegetable patch neatly mulched with old hay.
“This is stop number one,” the old curmudgeon hissed,
And he climbed to the roof with the bags in his fist.
Then he slid down the chimney — a rather tight pinch —
But if Santa could do it, then so could the Grinch.
He got stuck only once — an inflatable plug
Impeded his way, but he gave it a tug —
And he dropped to the hearth and he rolled on the floor,
And he cursed at his knees, which were creaky and sore.
He flipped on his flashlight and surveyed the scene.
His knees made him spiteful and cranky and mean.
As he opened his duffel, his legs felt unsteady,
But he laid out his tools to be sure he was ready.
His cursed at his tool box — too tightly latched! —
As he pulled out a drill with a hole saw attached.
That evening the Grinch had set several goals:
Number one on the list was to drill lots of holes.
With his hole saw he made 14 holes in the wall
Then more in the basement, and more in the crawl.
“Soon they’ll wonder where all of their energy went!”
He said as he pushed in a passive air vent.
“They’ll shiver! They’ll shout! They’ll writhe and they’ll seethe!
But heavens above — their walls will all breathe!”
With a glint in his eye, and a set to his jaw,
He opened his bag and he pulled out his saw,
And he climbed to the attic, installed a big fan,
Cut a hole from above for a big recessed can,
And then, coming down through the hatch with his basket,
He stopped at the trap door to pull off the gasket.
He pulled tape from the duct seams — ’twas hard to unpeel.
And, his bag now half empty, he started to steal.
He unscrewed the door sweep attached to the door,
And he opened the Venmar and took out the core.
Having poked twenty holes in the home’s building shell,
He decided to steal every last CFLCompact fluorescent lamp. Fluorescent lightbulb in which the tube is folded or twisted into a spiral to concentrate the light output. CFLs are typically three to four times as efficient as incandescent lightbulbs, and last eight to ten times as long. CFLs combine the efficiency of fluorescent light with the convenience of an Edison or screw-in base, and new types have been developed that better mimic the light quality of incandescents. Not all CFLs can be dimmed, and frequent on-off cycling can shorten their life. Concerns have been raised over the mercury content of CFLs, and though they have been deemed safe, proper recycling and disposal is encouraged. .
He cursed at the Whos — "They're all idiots! Peasants!" —
As he screwed in a bunch of high-watt incandescents.
He removed a diffuserIn a forced-air heating/cooling system, the diffuser is a register or grille attached to ducting through which heated or air conditioned air is delivered to the living space. In a tubular skylight or an electric light fixture, the diffuser is a cover plate through which scattered light is delivered.. As he pulled it off,
From somewhere behind him he heard a girl cough.
He turned around fast, and he saw a small Who!
Little Cindy-Lou Who, who was not more than two.
The Grinch had been caught by this little Who daughter
Who’d got out of bed for a cup of cold water.
She stared at the terrified Grinch and said, “Hi!
Why are you taking our CFLs? Why?”
But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
“Why, my sweet little tot,” the coal-burner lied,
“I've come here to help!” And he smiled real wide.
“This here CFL is old-fashioned, you see,
I’ll replace it quite soon with a bright LED!”
And his fib fooled the child. Then he patted her head
And he got her a drink and he sent her to bed.
And when Cindy-Lou Who went to bed with her cup,
He went to the chimney and stuffed his bag up!
He climbed slowly at first — he wished he were faster —
Escaping the house, which was now a disaster.
He did similar damage at other Whos’ places —
Unplugging the caps on utility chases —
And in spite of his aches and his knees that were creaky,
Found ways to make sure every Who's house was leaky.
At dawn, no one stirred, and so no one could see
The old Grinch put his tools in his big SUV.
After spending the nighttime marauding and ripping,
He packed up the bag full of old weatherstripping,
And drove the fat bag to the top of Mount Crumpit.
He parked near the tiptop, intending to dump it.
“The Whos think it’s Fair Day! That’s what they expect!”
“Soon they’ll realize their Energy Fair is all wrecked!”
Though his knees were still sore, and his back was still stiff,
He managed to hurl the whole bag off the cliff.
Now, he may have been angry — he may have been rash —
But, oh! he was happy to hear a big CRASH!
The satisfied vandal was pleased at his ruse,
So he pulled out his binocs to spy on the Whos.
Several Whos were on ladders, inspecting each home,
While others were filling the holes with spray foam.
These Whos all seemed cheerful — Could he trust his eyes?
The Grinch blinked, and he muttered, “Now, that’s a surprise!”
The Grinch’s destruction did not faze the Whos;
They just turned on their fogTo fog a room or building is to use a fog machine during a blower door test, revealing locations of air leaks where the fog escapes. The fogging material is usually a glycol-based solution, completely non-toxic. machines, looking for clues:
They discovered the air leaks and patched them up tight,
To repair all the damage the Grinch made that night.
So none of the Whos appeared mad or upset!
The Grinch was unhappy — he now felt regret.
He drove to his cave, looking tired and pale,
And he stopped at his mailbox and picked up his mail.
His knees were so sore that he need a pill,
But he opened his mail — his electricity bill
Made him shout, “Holy energy crisis! Aw, shucks!
My bill for November is four thousand bucks!”
He popped an Excedrin and flopped in a chair,
And he cried as he pulled at the tufts of his hair.
“I give up!” he exclaimed. “I need more insulation!”
And he dialed the number for weatherization.
“You win!” he exclaimed. “My old bones are sore.
I need help. So come quick with your red blower door.”
His cave was quite drafty. He put on a sweater,
And poured a stiff Scotch, and he felt a bit better.
And settling back in his overstuffed chair,
He made plans to attend this year’s Energy Fair.
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas from the Energy Nerd. Martin's previous holiday greetings include his Macbeth parody , his parodies of Christmas carols , and his parody of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”