144. YOUR BUDDY: THE SPACE HEATER
There's been a lot of angst lately about the U.S. natural gas situation. Talk about "going over the cliff"... old people freezing to death in their homes due to expensive gas or fuel oil etc. Matt Simmons is predicting an oil price spike to $330-$650 per barrel, and a gasoline price spike to $12.50-$25.00 per gallon for the winter of 2005-2006Source. All the peak oil pundits say: The U.S. is in big trouble if this is a cold winter. Yep, it's enough to make you shiver from both terror and cold.
But never fear. Today I'm going to talk you through some revolutionary technologies from Japan which will help you reduce your natural gas bill to damn near nothing.
First of all, you're going to want to turn off your furnace. I know how Americans heat their homes, and it's fucking ridiculous. Two or three stories, piping hot, every room, all the time, even when nobody's home. You're not going to want to do that anymore. The furnace is your enemy, and the spawn of Satan, so turn it off.
Next, you're going to want to purchase one of these miracle machines:
These bad boys come in all sorts of styles and variations. Mine has 3 settings (350, 700 and 1050 watts), and costs about $30. Basically, you just plug it in, put it next to where you're sitting, turn it on and presto, you're warm.
Now you may wonder how effective these units will be in the cavernous rooms found in American homes. Good point, but the Japanese have another techno-fix -- sliding doors which they call fusuma and shoji:
My apartment, for instance, is very small, but it has no less than 4 sets of sliding doors, so I can close off a small area, and just heat (or cool) that area while I'm in it. Strategies you might want to use in the U.S.: set up the room where you hang out (TV, internet etc.) in a large closet, or the smallest room in the house; or go over to Home Depot, and improvise a little blocked off space of your own.
Now you've got a small space with the drafts sealed, and your space heater can really keep you toasty. It may seem a little weird at first, but this is actually adventurous living on the "new frontier". Think of your little room as your "space capsule".
Here's a couple of other tips: Don't leave the heat on when you leave the house. And don't leave it on while you're sleeping either. Instead you're going to want to invest in one these high-tech energy-conservation systems:
This will keep your head warm while the furnace is off:
The innovations don't stop there. This is an amazing Japanese device for totally eliminating natural gas use in clothes dryers (yes, that's my underwear):
Now, wash your clothes in cold water, and you're basically natural gas free. I personally only use natural gas to cook and shower, and I could eliminate the cooking part in a couple of hours by buying an electric range.