If you're from a "heating climate," one where you spend most of your annual utility bill on heating your home in the winter, you have quite a different experience from those of us in a "cooling climate," where the bulk of our annual utility outlay is spent on air conditioning during the blazing hot summers.
I never considered one type of climate control more important that the other. But I have come across some articles lately on the federal budget cuts, one of which is cutting heating assistance for poor people, and one of the criticisms for the program is that some people use those funds for air conditioning.
This got me thinking: is heating really more vital to human well-being than air conditioning? I say no way! If you live in an area like I do where the temperature can be 100 degrees with 90 percent humidity, that is life-threatening, my friend.
Some people think we're being extravagant down here in the south to use air conditioning. But do they feel they're being extravagant heating their homes in winter? We use very little energy down here in the south during the winter. I guess we could say to the northerners: man up and live in a cold house. But of course, I wouldn't say that.
Others say: Turn off your air conditioner because our ancestors lived without air conditioning. The truth is, houses back then were built to allow for air flow. There were tall ceilings and leaky walls and porches and transoms.
Now the houses are tighter, with windows that barely open, and insulation in the walls.
If we are to cut down on air conditioning costs, we can either restore to our old homes the air-moving features of a century ago, or we can seal them up so a very little bit of air conditioning goes a long way.
No matter what we do, please don't discount our need for air conditioning. If you could experience what we experience down here, you'd know it's a matter of life and death, not just comfort.
In exchange, I won't challenge your need and right to warm your home in the winter. Deal?
(Seattle – April 6, 2011) College Works Painting, a company operating in Oregon, has agreed to pay $32,508 penalty for alleged violations of the federal pre-renovation rule. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alleged that the Irvine, California based company violated the federal pre-renovation rule while renovating nine properties in Portland, McMinnville, and Hillsboro, Oregon.
The federal Pre-Renovation Education Rule requires painters, contractors, carpenters, property-management companies and others involved in remodeling or renovation of pre-1978 housing to provide home owners and occupants with an EPA Renovate Right lead hazard information pamphlet. In 1978 lead was banned from paint used for housing.
This pamphlet educates home owners or occupants on how to minimize exposure to hazardous lead dust that is often generated during sanding, cutting, demolition or other renovation activities. The pamphlet also provides resources for more information about lead and minimizing lead hazards.
The violations in this case took place during renovation work done in 2008.
College Works failed to establish and maintain records necessary to demonstrate compliance with Toxic Substances Control Act regulations, according to the EPA. College Works has corrected the violations and is now in compliance with EPA’s Pre-Renovation Education Rule.
“Families have a right to know about possible lead health hazards around the home,” said Rick Albright, Director of EPA’s Office of Air, Waste and Toxics in Seattle. “By reading the Renovate Right pamphlet families can learn how to avoid hazardous lead dust during renovations.”
Lead-based paint can be on walls, ceilings, woodwork, windows, or even floors. When lead-based paint on these surfaces is chipped, sanded, or scraped, it breaks into tiny, barely visible pieces that children can swallow or inhale. Even small repair and renovation jobs, including repainting projects, can create enough lead dust and chips to harm children.
Lead poisoning is a silent disease that can cause serious health consequences for children because of its detrimental effects on both physical and mental development. Nearly one million children in the country are affected by elevated lead levels.
For copies of the Federal pamphlet, Renovate Right, the Federal Rule, or information on the hazards of lead paint, call 1-800-424-LEAD or via the Internet at: www.epa.gov/lead.
According to many, lead poisoning is the No. 1 environmental threat to children's health. Experts agree that the most common cause of lead poisoning is exposure to dust from deteriorated lead-based paint in the child's home or daycare.
And the EPA's RRP program is designed to help protect children and their developing bodies from this danger.
Happily, the federal program to reduce this hazard, known as the Lead Hazard Reduction program, escaped the recent federal budget cuts. I can't think of a better use for my tax dollars than protecting children from being poisoned.
See details of the Lead Hazard Reduction program here.
To see all cuts in the recently passed budget, go here. The very last item on this list is the $26 million for Lead Hazard Reduction program.
In order to comply with the RRP rule, renovators will incur costs for EPA certification and costs to take a training course from an EPA-accredited training provider, as well as for supplies needed in order to carry out the required lead-safe work practices designed to reduce exposure to lead dust from renovations.
Firm Certification and Training Costs: The rule requires renovation firms to become certified by EPA or an EPA-approved state RRP program in order to perform renovation, repair or painting activities for compensation in target housing or child-occupied facilities. EPA is required by law to charge firms a fee that covers the government’s cost of administering the program. Firm certification is valid for 5 years. The fee for most firms is $300, which is equivalent to a cost of $60 per year.