Thursday, February 23, 2017

Free Heat, Free Money

Walking in front of a rental house two doors down, I suddenly felt a blast of radiant heat on my right cheek. I looked around, wondering where it was coming from. Ten feet away was a window, reflecting the afternoon sun. Either the window pane or the white shades inside were reflecting back intense solar energy. Multiply that by however many times larger the window is than my face, and you get a sense of how much free heat is being reflected away from that house. While free heat is being rejected, the gas furnace is laboring to keep the house warm, and more fossil carbon is slipping up and out of the chimney. Discontent with nature's subtle power and inconsistency, we turned long ago to the now discomfiting comforts of machines.

How deceptive it all is. The climate changing pollution seeping out of Princeton's chimneys and exhaust pipes is silent, invisible, odorless, unintended, and the winter sun, hunkered down low in the sky, seems an improbable source of heat for a home.

What's being lost is as covert as a $5 bill slipping from a pocket, noticed only by someone out and about, open to serendipity, who happens by the right spot at the right time.

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