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Illinois Country Living

Doug Rye, licensed architect and the popular host of the "Home Remedies" radio show

Energy Solutions

Energy Commandment #5: Use the BETTER WAY
Doug explains the best way to reduce your carbon footprint

A few mornings ago my wife said to me, “This would be a perfect morning to go to the farmers market. It is CLOUDY, about 70 degrees and NO WIND.”

Even if we don’t buy anything, it would be a nice morning together. (Men, no comment about spending.)

Well, I agreed and proceeded to get dressed for the market. There were about 20 vendors at the market and I like to talk to all of them. I want to know if they actually grow or make the products they are selling.

The first person I met was a lady who had small bouquets of wildflowers. I told her that I would buy my wife flowers if she didn’t act up or spend any money. We proceeded around the square and purchased fresh blackberries, tomatoes, peaches, greens, grapes and two bluebird houses.

We ended up at the flower lady’s table. She smiled and said, “You are back.” I said, “My name is Doug Rye. Have you ever heard of Doug Rye?” “Yes, you are the man that writes in the Rural Arkansas magazine. What do you think of solar?” she asked.

I looked straight up toward the sky and turned 360 degrees, not saying a word. Several seconds passed as I continued to look at the sky. Finally, she said, “It wouldn’t work very well today, would it?” I responded that it would not.

She asked, “How about wind?” Yep, you guessed it, I looked toward the sky and the trees, turned 360 degrees and she started laughing as she said, “It wouldn’t work very well today, would it?”

I encouraged her to read the September issue of Rural Arkansas to learn the BETTER WAY. The same column was also printed in this magazine last month.

Why do so many ask about solar and wind? It is because they care about the world, our nation and their own houses. That is just like me and most of you folks.

Part of that concern is about the carbon “footprint” created as a result of energy generation. I don’t know of any person who objects to reducing their energy use and carbon footprint.

On most days, however, generating electricity at your house with solar doesn’t even reduce a “toeprint.”

In my opinion, sealing the ductwork and adding attic insulation would reduce more “toeprints” than solar. Now, caulk, insulate and install a geothermal heat pump and you might reduce the carbon footprint by five toes and a half foot.

You simply get better results for less money, even when the sun is not shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

Today is my birthday and I opened a gift from my daughter about 15 minutes ago. It is a beautiful scenic book about Arkansas waterfalls by a Carroll Electric Cooperative member – Tim Ernst. Folks, I care as much about this country and the environment as anyone else. It is none of my business what you do, I just want you to know the BETTER WAY.

More Information:

Doug Rye, the “Doctor of Energy Efficiency-the King of Caulk and Talk” can be heard on several different Illinois radio stations. Or you can go to his Web site at, e-mail him at, or call 888-Doug-Rye or 501-653-7931. You can also sign up for a free newsletter and order his “how to” videotapes.


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Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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