Thursday, August 28, 2008

Greening My Home, Step 1: Biodiesel

By Dan Morrison

Air sealing and insulating are a great first step, but switching fuels is a lot quicker and easier. I'll do the insulating after I get a bonus check!

Standing in the cold dark December night pouring diesel fuel from a five gallon jug into the side of my house is where I think it really clicked: Houses are a huge consumer of oil. I had always gotten up-tight about gas mileage in my cars and trucks (I had a full sized Ford pickup at the time), but it never really hit me how much our houses gobble up.

Five gallons would maybe be enough to make it through the night, but it was about 10 degrees outside and I had two young children inside. So I made a few trips to the gas station and back pondering all the gas I was chugging into the side of my house.

Thousands of people pour hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel into their house every year. Actually, we burn 5 billion gallons of fuel oil every year (or we did in 2001)

An easy way for my family to cut our carbon footprint and our foreign oil consumption was to switch to biodiesel. Even though it's a 20% blend of biodiesel, my wife and I feel 80% better about our carbon emissions.

Biofuel cost a bit more than regular fuel oil but we don't really care. Regular fuel oil is bad; biodiesel is better. Now that the price of oil has skyrocketed, the extra premium paid for biodiesel is barely noticeable. Maybe we feel 85% better now. And it feels a heck of a lot better to see the oil truck with big green leaves on the side pull up to top us off.

To find a dealer, I went to and searched their listing. Hale Hill Farm was one of the closest (Bantam Fuel is closer, but they don't sell 20% blends, only 5%), so we called Hale Hill. Even though we're a little ways away, they deliver to us because they want to spread the word.

The first time the delivery driver came, he had a look at our system to make sure the fuel was compatible with our boiler, lines and tasnk, gave the thumbs up, and started pumping. The service is excellent, the drivers friendly, and the office staff pleasant.
What an interesting way to do business...

1 comment:

Krzysztof Lis said...

Nice to learn that someone is actually using biodiesel not only to fuel his truck, but also to fuel his home heating! Could you please tell us, what is the price difference between the biodiesel and petrodiesel heating oil? In Poland, where I live, heating oil and diesel fuel, while almost exactly the same fuel, are taxed differently. I am wondering if other countries have similar rules...