Compare this “Cheap” Coal Option with the Idea of Passive Houses

This article in the NY Times covers growing interest in home use of coal stoves, but conveniently fails to review the complete cost of coal mining, the subsidies that the coal and other petro fuel industries get from our tax dollars, the long term cleanup costs of accidents like the coal slurry spill this past week, the environmental devastation of mountain top removal mining.

I think it is important that the complete context be considered when thinking about energy and comfort and how we live here. Simply looking at the cost of $165 per ton and the question about dealing with the coal ash is not the whole picture.

“Cheap” coal is not an elegant solution.

clipped from

Burning Coal at Home Is Making a Comeback

SUGARLOAF, Pa. — Kyle Buck heaved open the door of a makeshift bin abutting his suburban ranch house. Staring at a two-ton pile of coal that was delivered by truck a few weeks ago, Mr. Buck worried aloud that it would not be enough to last the winter.
Problematic in some ways and difficult to handle, coal is nonetheless a cheap, plentiful, mined-in-America source of heat. And with the cost of heating oil and natural gas increasingly prone to spikes, some homeowners in the Northeast, pockets of the Midwest and even Alaska are deciding coal is worth the trouble.

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