After a HOT week in Houston (albeit one that was bookended by gorgeous weather in Minnesota and Virginia), it feels great to be back in Lausanne. It is also very nice to be reunited with my team at Poken, although half the team is in San Francisco right now so I won’t catch up with them until next week.
My time in the US was very productive. Although I spent all of my days working for Poken, I also managed to catch up with family/friends in the evenings and coordinate some major renovations to my house. I’m very excited about these renovations as they are expected to reduce my energy consumption by almost 50%. This includes installation of a solar-powered attic fan, creating a better, insulated seal between the attic and the rest of the house, sealing all of the house’s air leaks (around doors, windows, and exterior wall power outlets, for example), servicing the HVAC system, solar film on all the windows, installation of switches to shut off power to standby equipment “vampires,” and replacement of all light bulbs with low-energy CFLs. This is a full-system approach that addresses not just the efficiency of equipment itself but also the efficiency of the way that air moves throughout the house and reduces the load on that equipment. In fact, when I replace my A/C unit next year, instead of just getting a more efficient version of the same cooling power, I should actually get a lower-power version–although still more efficient too!
Even with the rising cost of energy in the US, these renovations aren’t likely to pay for themselves for several years. However, as most of you know, I try to live my life with at least a double bottom line and I believe the cost of energy inefficiency is much greater than just the price I pay per kilowatt-hour on my monthly electric bill.
My flight trip back to Lausanne was good for a couple of reasons. First, I achieved Gold Elite status on Continental. This is the first time I have broken the gold barrier and, with only 20k more miles this year, I may even arrive at Platinum. Hooray! Also, Matthew McConaughey was on my flight from Newark to Geneva, two seats in front of me. He was coming in to support Lance Armstrong at the end of the Tour de France. He seemed really laid back (as one would expect) and pleasant to everyone who came up to talk with him. I also give him major props for being so ripped at 39–almost 40.
Since I’ve been back I’ve been filling my non-Poken time with catching up with those whom I’ve missed–both IMD classmates and Poken coworkers. Friday night I went to see Bruno with some friends–outrageous as expected. Tonight I will attend my first Swiss music festival at Paleo, which I’m looking forward to. It probably won’t be the typical massive-crowd-drunk-mosh-pit scene during Beethoven’s 5th Piano Conerto, which is just fine by me. 🙂