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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

LOE Mailbag

Air Date: Week of November 17, 2006

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We dip into the Living on Earth mailbag to hear from our listeners.

Transcript

[LETTERS THEME MUSIC]

GELLERMAN: Time now to hear from you, our listeners.

We asked for feedback on a recent commentary and, boy, did we get it. We received a flood of phone calls and e-mails about Steve Curwood’s proposal that the federal government provide low interest long-term loans, like a mortgage, to make green power affordable to the average homeowner. Here’s Peter Hanigan of Albuquerque, New Mexico:

HANIGAN: I think it’s a great idea. It makes a lot of economic sense and it makes great environmental sense.

GELLERMAN: Peter listens to Living on Earth on KUNM and he wasn’t the only who liked the concept. Mary Irene Stevens tunes in to WBAA in West Lafayette, Indiana:

STEVENS: This is a very workable, clever plan. And we need to get onboard with this program.

GELLERMAN: Matthew Ochs from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania said he jumped out of bed at 6:30 am to write us about this segment. He says, “there’s gold in them hills when it comes to green technology.” Matt writes a government-backed loan would be a great incentive. But it would come too late for him. He just installed a geothermal heating system in his house. It cost 40,000 dollars but he received just $300 in tax credit for it.

But not all our listeners were so enamored with federal green financing. One called in to say in a perfect world this would be great, but not in the post 9-11 economy. Many folks can barely pay their credit card bills and home mortgages, and would have a difficult time making these extra payments.

John Serafin of Palo Alto, California pointed out that loans to install solar panels would not help renters and notes that demand for solar panels currently far exceeds the supply. WKSU listener Edith Chase in Kent Ohio phoned to say that solar photovoltaics are too expensive and there’s another alternative.

CHASE: The cheapest kilowatt is the electricity you don’t use. Therefore, the most cost effective dollars would be to replace your air conditioner and furnace with energy star appliances. At the same time plant a deciduous shade tree on the southwest side of your home. Replace your windows and insulate the walls and attic in your home and smile in comfort this winter.

GELLERMAN: Peter Boyer listens to us on KALW in San Francisco. He suggests that before the installation of alternative energies “homes and business should be given a free energy audit to identify ways to offset the need for power in the first place.” Well, many utilities do just that so give them a call.

And while you’re at it, give us a call and a piece of your mind. Our number is 800-218-9988. Or write to 20 Holland Street, Somerville, Massachusetts, 02144. Our e-mail address is comments at loe dot org. And visit our web page at Living on Earth dot org. That's Living on Earth dot org.

 

 

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