If you were banking on a warm winter to save you this year, you might be in trouble. On the radio yesterday, I heard that the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting colder than average temperatures for most regions of the U.S. Cold temperatures combined with high-energy costs could spell big trouble for a lot of homeowners.
Now, I don’t know how sophisticated or accurate the Almanac’s predictions are—on their website, they state “People who follow our forecasts claim our accuracy rate is about 80–85%.” I suspect there’s a good deal of vagueness surrounding the accuracy rate, and I’d take the prediction with a grain of salt.
But what if it pans out, and it is a cold winter? Even “warm” winters are usually cold in most parts of the country. Some people could be facing heating bills more the twice what they were a year ago. Some could be spending literally thousands of dollars. That’s scary.
The word on the street from some oil users is they’ve filled their tanks, and they have enough cash to make it into January, but other that, they’re not sure how they’ll afford to heat their homes. That’s scarier.
I know I’m beating the same drum, but that’s because it’s giving the right message. Energy-efficiency is the best hedge against both rising energy prices and the weather. I wouldn’t want to bet my economic future on being able to predict either. And I certainly don’t want to be completely at the mercy of either. I don’t have to be. And neither do you. By making your home more energy efficient, you’re less susceptible to the price of oil coming out of the Middle East or flowing through a pipeline that Russia and Georgia might be fighting over. You’re less susceptible to cold winters or hot summers (or even power outages—we need to talk about “passive survivability” soon).
Whatever the Almanac, the National Weather Service, or Uncle Elmer are predicting in terms of weather, I predict those who take action to make their homes more energy-efficient will win big in the coming years. And the earlier they start, the bigger they’ll win.