Back to Earth

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So now the three days of Down:2:Earth are done, and I've got plenty to share — more than I think I will have the bandwidth for. It wasn't as bad as the information bulge that resulted from BE'08, which I'm still trying to work through, but then again, d2e wasn't nearly as monumental. Nevertheless, it is a credit to the show that there is more to report on than there is time to report on.

But I'll start with a brief (as if) anecdote from yesterday. Just as I was arriving at 3 for Frances Moore Lappe's presentation, I ran into Paul Eldrenkamp of Byggmeister, the energy-efficiency-driven renovation specialist of Newton whom I'm now making a habit of mentioning.

He was there as a presenter, of course, but I asked him what he liked, and I was shocked to learn that he'd liked what I though was one of the weakest offerings, an inside storm window that traps an insulating layer of air between two sheets of clear plastic. (You should have no doubt, dear reader, that if Paul thinks one way and I think the other, he's right.) The table was operated by Ben Collins of Window Energy Savers (857-719-3837; windowenergysavers (at) gmail (dot) com).

I took one look at it and said, "but I could put my pen through that and it would be useless, no?" The proprietor's answer was less than satisfying, to me: "Yes, but you couldn't put your fist through it." Oh, OK then, I thought, and moved on.

But Eldrenkamp said that, for one, he liked it for its low "embodied energy," which is the phrase to describe how much energy went into making an object. (For example, corn's embodied energy includes the petroleum needed for the fertilizers, the fuel in the tractors in the field, and for the tractor-trailers to get it to market, and the water needed to irrigate, etc.) Instead of a more high-tech, material-intensive window made in Canada and then transported down here, these devices can be just as useful at a lower cost. He said he also likes its simplicity in general.

The encounter sent me back to the table to ask more questions, and a different fellow on duty rejoined that though the film could be pierced, it is also easily replaceable by the homeowner if such a mishap occurs.

Before I ran into Eldrenkamp, I had actually cited this booth as the weak end of the range when someone asked me what I thought of the show. Such things just keep showing me that no matter what I've learned, I still have very far to go to know what I'm talking about.


(This is not Collins, but his colleague, whose name I didn't ask.)


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