OMG! Energy Secretary Steven Chu LOVES Mapawatt!

Alright, so maybe Secretary Chu doesn't really love us (at least not yet), but he answered a question we sent in via Twitter to his Town Hall style chat, so that's a start.  The purpose of the chat was to "...discuss President Obama's Clean Energy and Innovation Agenda" and it can be seen on the website and the snippet with our question can be seen below.

Our question was: "What is the most cost effective modification a homeowner can make to their home to save the most energy".

His answer (paraphrased):

Insulation, finding where the air leaks are and sealing  those leaks.

He then went on to describe how he made a custom solution to prevent air from coming in or escaping from his mail slot, which sure sounded a lot like the solution we posted last week to prevent door drafts!  Of course his wife seemed to like the solution he came up with much more than my wife liked the big piece of cardboard sticking out of our door.

My answer would have been "Install and use a programmable thermostat", but only because I think that this is easier to do for most people than tackling their insulation issues, but to tell you the truth, his answer is probably the better one because it is more cost effective (depending on how much insulation you need).  It makes sense to fix all your leaks first, and then tackle the usage side (which is done with the thermostat).   I guess that's why he has a Nobel Prize for Physics...

See our question and his answer below!

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I agree, but looking at the big picture, the real answer is that a homeowner can halve their meat intake, if we consider a home as different to a house. More at
ckmapawatt's picture
That's a great point David from a holistic point of view to living more sustainably, but the sad truth is most people (well, Americans at least) only want to find ways to use less energy so they can save money (and I can't always blame them). It's hard to tell most people they need to eat less meat to improve the environment, because they just don't care. I usually change the message to "Eat less meat because it's healthier, and the meat you do eat, try and buy it from a local farmer so it will be a healthier animal AND you will help your local economy". I think it's important that we try and find the right message that will cause people to change. "Money" and "Living Longer" usually have more of an impact than "It's better for Mother Earth". As humans, we tend to think in terms of "I" and not "We". It's sad, but it's the truth.
That's pretty awesome. Congrats Chris!


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