Energy Realist reflects personal opinions on the subject of energy use, conservation and individual action.

Who are we?

Axel Dougan lived, for some 15 years, in an 1850’s house facing the northerly winds off Raritan Bay in New Jersey. He knows about air infiltration and energy inefficiency! He and his wife have remodeled a number of houses in Australia and the US. He was an home energy auditor in New jersey, with credentials as a BPI building analyst/envelope specialist and infrared thermographer. He has a career history in the IT industry including systems design, consulting and international sales and marketing.

Axel crop

I intend this site to be a practical, and “realistic”, resource for individual action.  I do not intend to preach on either side of the arguments about global warming (man made or not?), peak oil (are we there yet or is there lots left in deep water, shale and oil tar formations?), population growth etc. etc.  I have personal opinions on these issues, but they are better and exhaustively debated elsewhere.

No matter which side of those debates you are on it still makes sense to conserve energy, and to move away from the use of fossil fuels.  To save money for a start, and as a hedge, just in case oil and gas prices do spike.

My cousin in Germany runs a number of successful businesses a short commute north of Munich. His current house bristles with the typical German array of solar panels and, by US standards anyhow, is super tight and insulated. He is working on the architecture of an energy positive house for construction over the next few years.  We will follow the progress on the German View page.

Warwick Rowell M.Sc, B.Comm. Hons, Dip. Perm. Des. is a management consultant and Permaculture designer. He designed and established an eco-village on the southwest coast of Australia. He has built straw bale, off grid, and off- everything else, houses there. He has hands-on experience with small scale solar and wind power. We follow the building of his latest sustainable house in the “Australian View” part of this site.  He is an active voice in Australian sustainable living practices.

Warwick passed away in 2015.

Warwick’s input is collected under the Australian View

WHO WE ARE NOT – the word “realist” appears in a lot of different web sites related to energy and takes on quite philosophical overtones.  We are quite independent of them, even if we often agree on the steps needed.  For example here is an article in popsci.com, the online arm of Popular Science magazine.  And in this 2006 article in the on-line Britannica titled “The New Energy Realists” Richard Lugar states “… the new energy realists believe that a laissez faire energy policy based solely on market evolution is a naive posture“.  Maybe we are energy realists after all… (Unfortunately you need to subscribe to Britannica Online to read the full article)

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