I had planned to share the ups, downs, ins and outs of my eco-friendly move this week, but I am buried in boxes and need a little breathing room to give you a better perspective. Rest assured, I have spent more time researching an eco-friendly move than anyone else I know—and I will reveal all. My beloved friend Eric has packed up a Penske truck full of stuff from my mom's house and is working his way to Kansas. (Even though it is barely mentioned by the company, according to my research, Penske has worked harder than any other national truck rental company to make its fleet more fuel-efficient.)

While Eric winds his way through Virginia and Kentucky, I am hastily stuffing boxes with the contents of my apartment. (Used cardboard boxes are easy to procure; ask friends, like I did, or check in with local businesses to see if you can have their cast-offs. U-Haul 's box exchange is also pretty nifty.) I'm keeping myself somewhat sane by listening to live stories from The Moth and boning up on my grammar skills with the audio book Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. (I am a word freak. Good writing makes me swoon.)

I am also dreaming of energy efficiency.

Energy auditor Ryan Grimm paid me a little visit last week. Armed with an infrared camera, duct blaster and an odd contraption that compressed the air within the house, he determined that the air in my house exchanges with outside air at a ratio of 1:1. Ryan explained, "Every hour all the air inside your home is replaced with outside air 1.1 times." You can now understand why I am dreaming of efficiency. I am losing all of my warm air and replacing it with cold air every hour . Imagine how hard the furnace in my sweet little 84-year-old home is working! I need to help her (and my wallet) out.

My friend Carol reminded me a home is like a person. So, echoing what Ryan told me, I am going to take the same approach to energy efficiency. What do we do to stay warm? Put on a hat and warm up our extremities. The most important thing you can do to keep your home cozy is insulate your attic don't link and seal up any air leaks. According to the U.S. Department of Energy , only one in five homes built before 1980 is properly insulated. If you have an unfinished basement like I do, get down there, weatherproof doors and windows, and seal in cracks with spray foam. You have to warm up your house's head and feet—even if you have spiders .


More from Green Living
Simran Sethi is an award-winning journalist and associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications. For more information on Sethi, visit SimranSethi.com.


Next Story