Wednesday, June 18, 2008

All This Comfort Has To Stop

Have you looked at your electric bill? In the past eighteen years, the average Irish household has increased its power usage by 70%. That's a huge increase, and this coming at a time when we're all supposed to cut back.

What is most shocking about the elevated electricity consumption is the horrifying discovery that people are taking advantage of available power to increase their comfort. Yes, it's true. Irish people are making their homes more energy efficient but they're using more energy than ever, just to have lights on. It gets worse. Energy consumption is up so that the typical Irish resident can be warm.

Back in the days before the Celtic Tiger, there were many homes that were heated by a single stove and everyone was miserable with the chill. Now, an entire house has heat. It's outrageous.

With oil prices at record highs, it is time to change behavior and bring energy consumption back down to 1990 levels. Ireland must return to the thatched cottage, and get rid of the enormous mansions that have sprung up like mushrooms after a rain.

The number of occupants per household must go up as well, and it won't be long before the Dail will introduce legislation that forbids children from moving out of the house to set up their own quarters. The current figure of 2.81 occupants per household will have to change, to something like six or seven at the least. More homes with fewer people means more power used. There must be fewer homes, packed to the rafters with the extended family.

In addition, a national thermostat setting will be enforced. All homes can have one room heated at any one time, and that's just to keep the pipes from freezing.

All residents of Ireland must curtail energy usage. A quest for personal comfort must be sacrificed for the greater good. If you want to be warm, take a sun holiday to the south of France.

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