Air sealing and insulating are a great first step, but switching fuels is a lot quicker and easier. I’ll do the insulating after I get a bonus check!
I was standing in the cold on a dark December night, pouring diesel fuel from a five-gallon jug into the side of my house, when it really clicked: Houses consume a huge amount of oil. I had always gotten uptight about gas mileage in my cars and trucks (I had a full-size Ford pickup at the time) but, until that cold night, how much our houses gobble up had never really hit home.
Five gallons would maybe be enough to make it through the night, but it was about 10° outside and I had two young children inside. So I made a few trips to the gas station and back, pondering all the gas I was chugging into the side of my house.
Thousands of people pour hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel into their houses every year. Actually, we burn five billion gallons of fuel oil every year (or we did in 2001).
Switching to biodiesel was an easy way for my family to cut our carbon footprint and our foreign oil consumption. Even though it’s a 20% blend of biodiesel, my wife and I feel 80% better about our carbon emissions.
Biofuel cost a bit more than regular fuel oil but we don’t really care. Regular fuel oil is bad — biodiesel is better. When the price of oil skyrocketed, the extra premium paid for biodiesel was barely noticeable. And it feels a heck of a lot better to see the oil truck with big green leaves on the side pull up to top us off.
To find a dealer, I searched the listing at biodiesel.org. Hale Hill Farm was one of the closest (Bantam Fuel is closer, but they don’t sell 20% blends, only 5%), so we called Hale Hill. Even though we’re a little ways away, they deliver to us because they want to spread the word.
The first time the delivery driver came, he had a look at our system to make sure the fuel was compatible with our boiler, lines, and tank; gave the thumbs up; and started pumping. The service is excellent, the drivers friendly, and the office staff pleasant. What an interesting way to do business…
—Dan Morrison is managing editor of GreenBuildingAdvisor.com.