A happy middle ground is tough to achieve

Jan. 1, 2011
Thanks for publishing Mike Gray's letter. Remember, there is always a thread of truth in every criticism.

LANCASTER, PA. — Thanks for publishing Mike Gray's letter. Remember, there is always a thread of truth in every criticism. Mike is obviously at one end of the spectrum and the green movement is at the other end. The tough job for your magazine is finding that accurate middle ground. Mike is correct in that there are some glaring inconsistencies in the green movement. The big picture question is, does the good outweigh the bad?

1. Does equipment that saves lots of energy, but requires more maintenance and has a shorter life cycle really a good deal for the customer? How does the customer decide?

2. Geothermal is a great product, but in our area it cost $25,000-$30,000 to install a system. Even with the tax credits, that's a $ 17,000+ investment. That does eliminate a lot of people and it may become an option for a limited amount of people. It is a great option if you have the money.

3. Depending on your natural gas prices, the payback investment value on a tankless water heater is hard to justify versus other investment options. If the customer wants to save energy, it's a good deal. It's his choice on how he wants to spend his money.

4. Global warming has its valid critics, but it's hard to deny that there is a least some truth to it. Whom to believe and to what extent is always the challenge. In today's world it’s hard not to have an agenda and it's easy to ignore the truth that doesn't fit your agenda. The tendency is to go to one extreme in order to get others to move off the other extreme. A happy middle ground where there is worthwhile give-and-take is tough to achieve.

5. Like Mike, I’m 60+ and things have changed very quickly in the past few years, and it’s hard to learn all the new technology, let alone to trust younger people who don't have our experience in the field. Passing on the torch is a tough task for most of us. It's so easy to just reject everything that we don't feel comfortable with and focus on what we are good at. Taking a risk is tougher at 60 than 25, 35, or even 45.

My challenge to you is not to reject Mike as a right wing nut case. He represents the opinions of many contractors who feel the industry is a bit out of control, excited more about the techie stuff than the old proven basics. It is easy, especially as a younger person to get overly excited about new unproven products and ignore the old standbys. We have all been burned by doing that in the past. It might be worthwhile to list some of the possible downsides or cautions of new products in your articles bring balance to the reader.


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