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Musings of an Energy Nerd

’Twas the Night Before Christmas

With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore

Saving reindeer fuel. To lower his hay bills, Santa sometimes leaves his sleigh in the garage.
Image Credit: Chris LeCroy

’Twas the night before Christmas, when blizzards and chills

Strain my budget by raising my energy bills;

All the stockings were swaying — a cold winter breeze

Made my home’s leaky envelope feel like Swiss cheese

(The old windows and ceilings have so many gaps

That the kids have to sleep in their kerchiefs and caps) —

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

And I yanked up the creaky old single-pane sash.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But an energy expert — a trained engineer!

The sign on his truck said, “We’ll fix your old home.

If you’ve got any cracks, we’ll fill them with foam!”

A bespectacled fellow came out of the van,

And asked if I needed an infrared scan.

“Lord have mercy!” I muttered. “I certainly do!

Any chance that you came with a blower door, too?”

“Yes I did!” said the man. “I’m an energy geek!

And I promise to find every defect and leak!”

And he whistled, and shouted, and leaned in the van,

While his helper unloaded a door-mounted fan.

“Get the Duct Blaster! Caulk gun! A bottle of Windex!

It’s time to reduce this home’s dismal HERS Index!

We’ll battle your dampness and foul condensation!

And make sure that your house has enough insulation!”

And then up to the attic the engineer flew,

With a cellulose hose and a spray foam gun, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard a strange sound

As the cellulose bales were chopped up and ground.

When the recycled fibers were blown deep enough,

He came down through the hatchway all covered in fluff.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

He was real — flesh and blood! No mere Christmas illusion!

He even knew all about vapor diffusion!

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

Then back down the chimney the engineer came,

And he scolded me gently by saying, “For shame!

If you’re not burning wood and you’re not burning coal,

You don’t need this chimney — so plug up the hole!”

Then he sprang to his van, and he waved his farewell,

And he said, “Since you’ve got an improved building shell —

One that’s tight — it’s important to ventilate right!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

Last week’s blog: “Martin’s Energy Quiz.”

11 Comments

  1. Riversong | | #1

    That's wonderful
    Even for a Grinch like me, who tries his best to ignore the mad frenzy of consumption that we call Christmas, this is brilliant.

    A very warm solstice to you and all.

  2. Andrew Henry | | #2

    Rhyming license
    Clever use of Windex!

    Thanks for a year of frank and informative writing.

    Cheers,

    Andrew

  3. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    Uses of Windex
    Windex improves the solar heat gain coefficient of dirty windows, so be sure to throw some in the truck for your next weatherization job.

  4. Garth Sproule | | #4

    Happy Holladay!
    That was great! Seasons Greetings from the "great white north"

  5. Bill Rose | | #5

    subliminal
    Wait a minute! That's not Santa Claus in the photo. Read his name carefully. I think Sarah Plain is in on this. Or Sarah Lapin to mon ami Martin.

  6. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #6

    C'est vrai, Bill
    You caught me. I couldn't find a good photo of Santa, so I was forced to substitute a photo of his pacifist twin. He lives in California; before he became a bicycle fanatic, he rode with a motorcycle gang and adopted the sinister-sounding nickname by which he is still known.

    Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!

  7. Andrew Henry | | #7

    Holiday Project
    My windows are embarrassingly dirty. I was thinking that might affect my house's solar heat gain. Now I know!

    I now have a little holiday project to work away at. To think I considered your use of Windex as artistic license. That said, I'll just use 'vinegar and water' to get my windows clean, of course that doesn't rhyme with 'index'.

    Merry Christmas,

    Andrew

  8. John Brooks | | #8

    Merry Christmas to Martin and All
    And especially to Bill Rose....
    Bill can see things that many of us overlook.

    next cooling season I may avoid cleaning my windows.

  9. User avater
    Michael Chandler | | #9

    Glorious!
    Martin
    you have outdone yourself on this!

    We'll be reading it aloud in front of the fire this evening.
    All the best to all

    Michael

  10. John O'Brien | | #10

    Closed Cell Spray Foam R values
    Hi Martin,
    I was trying to figure out a way to respond to your reply to my post at FHB, but couldn't figure it out (not a computer geek!!) Anyway, in your reply you said that it wasn't true that spray foam "reaches its maximum R-value at about 5-6 inches which equals approx. R 30-36." I got that info from a PDF file I downloaded from FHB comparing closed and open cell foams by Rob Yagid - so is he wrong, or did I not read that correctly?
    Thanks for your help,
    Jobphoto

  11. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #11

    Sounds wrong
    John,
    If you are quoting Rob Yagid correctly, he got it wrong.

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