On Friday, The New York Times published an article titled "In Fuel Oil Country, Cold That Cuts to the Heart." The article, about the Hartford's, an elderly couple in Maine who can't afford to pay for the oil needed to heat their (rather leaky) home, is both heart-wrenching and inspiring.
By Sunday morning, the comments section of the article had more than 400 remarks, most asking for ways in which they could help. And by 10 am, Upright Frameworks, one of Maine's leading weatherization companies, DeWitt Kimball of Complete Home Evaluation Services, Maine's leading energy auditor, and Peter Troast of Energy Circle, were on their way to the couple's home in Dixfield, Maine to do a full energy audit - at no charge.
As of now, preliminary audit results have shown a lot of promise for quick, easy fixes to the home's envelope - fixes that will be donated or done at cost for the couple. Peter's blog promises to keep everyone up-to-date on the progress of the Hartford's home, which is just one more reminder of the bigger problem at hand. "Without question, direct support to prevent people from freezing in their homes is the moral and right thing to do. But paying for people's oil, a commodity virtually guaranteed to continue it's annual 18% per year price march, is utterly unsustainable," says Peter in his response to the NYT's piece.
"Only by addressing the underlying issue - buildings that use energy wastefully - can we bring under control a government expense that has no end in sight."