Dilbert, Scott Adams, and Being Green

Hilary Grayson

I have just read ‘Dilbert goes Green’. Well it is not actually Dilbert himself, but a great little blog post by Dilbert’s creator, Scott Adams, who has built his own ‘green’ house. It is not quite a tale of woe, although it could be, but Scott and his wife hung in there.

I urge everyone to read it, because being green isn’t easy and just sometimes you need to smile a bit and to have some moral support. One great quote from Scott is:

“I prefer a more pragmatic definition of green. I think of it as living the life you want, with as much Earth-wise efficiency as your time and budget reasonably allow.“

Scott Adams' Dilbert

That is great. I wish I had written that. I didn’t, but I am sure that Scott won’t mind if I borrow if from time to time. Another great quote buried in there is:

“This would be a good time to point out that nothing you learn about green building materials will be supported by relevant data that is in the proper context for your particular home. But the rest of your life is probably a mess too, so you'll get used to it fast.”

Never was a truer word spoken. In a rash moment, our MD declared that we should all become more knowledgeable about the products out there to assist with energy efficiency. So, being the good employee that I am, off I went determined to learn more about solid wall insulation. (Because, frankly, I am fed up with all the hype about cavity wall insulation! I just don’t have a cavity wall to fill! I cannot feel smug by getting E.ON round to stuff my cavity walls. I have to leave that to the lucky ones who live in newer houses – like my Mum, who, by the way, got her's paid for as she has got her bus pass.)

But where do you start? In desperation I went to the Centre for Alternative Technology – not everyone’s cup of tea (too hippy dippy for some, and as Scott says, hippies have bad taste) but they do have a good bookshop. So I bought ‘Converting to an Eco Friendly Home’ by Paul Hymers. At £7.99 how could I go wrong? Well Paul, bless him, has simply added to my turmoil, introducing the concept of multi-layer insulation blanket (he is clearly a fan) when I thought all I needed to research was insulation-backed plaster board. And then, to add to my woes, I am introduced to not just the concept of U Values, but also to R Values and K values. I do not possess the greatest maths brain. I need thing visually represented.

So frankly, I could have given up at this point, but then found Scott – not quite in the ways that others find God, but bear with me. So now, reassured that being green isn’t easy, it’s back to the day job and wrestling with EPCs and HCSs. 

Oh, and can anyone out there tell me why you cannot just top up existing insulation mineral wool in with natural wool? And does Warm-a-wall really work? There has to be a catch!

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