Paul Eldrenkamp: "Not as hypocritical as I used to be"

Somewhat akin to love of one's children, I like everything I publish, but some posts are more equal than others, and this installment in my series of miniprofiles of sustainability-minded people is just terrific, I think. (Please note: I attribute this to the subject, not to me; this ain't braggin'.) To recap, the profiles are "mini" not only because they're short, but because all the questions are 10 words or less, and the answers are requested to match.

PAUL ELDRENKAMP, 51, Newton Owner, Byggmeister Inc., a residential remodeling contractor

Green epiphany: “About 6 years ago, when I realized that no one was keeping score in terms of household energy consumption.”

Green hero:Linda Wigington of Affordable Comfort (ACI). She initiated the North American Thousand Home Challenge (pdf available here), reaching out to people across the country to do deep energy retrofits and then to share the information we learn.”

A sustainability practice you've recently taken on: “We graph our electrical consumption in Excel and try to make sure that each average of the latest 12 months is lower than the prior month’s 12-month average.”

An example of greenwashing that really bothers you: “The automatic assumption that ground source heat pumps are a green technology.”

What don’t people understand about builders: “Most of the problems we cause people are because, as individuals, we have a high need for approval.”

Technology you’re most hopeful about: “High-efficiency air-source heat pumps.”

An unobvious first step for someone just starting out: “Calculate what your baseline is, so you can quantify improvements.”

The one thing you wish everyone would just get right: “A tight house with well-engineered ventilation is better than a house that relies on so-called natural but unplanned ventilation.”

What’s a question I should have asked you? “How hypocritical am I?”

And your answer? “Not as hypocritical as I used to be. The trend line there is downward as well.”

Are we going to make it? “Some of us.”

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