Mon 8 Mar 2010
It is true. Not everyone will get the bug. Where you stop after your energy audit could many times be with good thoughts. A liberal bastion such as Boulder, has to hire people to go door to door to install Compact Flourescent Lighbulbs.
Even Boulder Finds It Isn’t Easy Going Green
BOULDER, Colo.—This spring, city contractors will fan out across this well-to-do college town to unscrew light bulbs in thousands of homes and replace them with more energy-efficient models, at taxpayer expense.
City officials never dreamed they’d have to play nanny when they set out in 2006 to make Boulder a role model in the fight against global warming. The cause seemed like a natural fit in a place where residents tend to be politically liberal and passionate about the great outdoors.
Instead, as Congress considers how to encourage Americans to conserve more energy, Boulder stands as a cautionary tale about the limits of good intentions.
“What we’ve found is that for the vast majority of people, it’s exceedingly difficult to get them to do much of anything,” says Kevin Doran, a senior research fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
President Barack Obama has set ambitious goals for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, in part by improving energy efficiency. Last year’s stimulus bill set aside billions to weatherize buildings. The president has also called for a “cash for caulkers” rebate for Americans who weatherize their homes.
But Boulder has found that financial incentives and an intense publicity campaign aren’t enough to spur most homeowners to action, even in a city so environmentally conscious that the college football stadium won’t sell potato chips because the packaging isn’t recyclable.
Take George Karakehian. He considers himself quite green: He drives a hybrid, recycles, uses energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. But he refuses to practice the most basic of conservation measures: Shutting the doors to his downtown art gallery when his heating or air conditioning is running.
Many people get the bug to the point where they want to make their own which ain’t very hard to do. Ed Beagley Jr. makes his with a bicycle generator.
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