Brace for winter by sealing up windy windows and drafty doors

By Lynette Holloway

Jamie Swise, a Chicago-based weatherization expert, said President-elect Barack Obama made his job a whole lot easier when during a recent debate he urged Americans “to weatherize” their homes to save energy.

Obama made the appeal at a presidential debate last month before his election in response to a question about sacrifices his administration would ask Americans to make during these tumultuous economic times.

“Here you have the soon-to-be president of the United States stressing the importance of weatherization,” Swise said after the election. “He’s got a lot of people thinking about how weatherizing their homes can help save energy. You can’t beat that.”

As gas prices fall, will our will to conserve wither?

By Barbara Kessler

The question keeps coming up on newscasts and blogs: Now that gas prices are abating will Americans revert to their guzzling ways. Or put another way: Are we stupid?

Seriously, this is a legitimate question. Look at our history. Our memory of tough energy times in the 1970s was short. The next decade brought a celebration of consumption, and stagnation on the green energy front.

The current economic freeze may temporarily cloud any clear verdict on our behavior this go-round. Consider the person with the gas-guzzling vehicle that they’d like to unload. They may be unable to buy a new gas-sipper and take on debt. Even someone who can afford to make a change may be holding out for a better built hybrid, those clean diesels coming our way or the all-electric cars we keep hearing will be here in 2010. (Here’s betting GM dearly wishes it was a year closer on its Volt.)

But should $2.50 a gallon gasoline cause us to waver in kicking our oil addiction, we may have a less co-dependent government this time. Politicians of both parties support clean energy initiatives, and both presidential contenders have proposed tax incentives for people buying fuel efficient cars. These incentives mimic those already in place for hybrid cars, but also go beyond to include other types of eco-friendly vehicles.