Cindy Frantz

Cindy Frantz

Cindy Frantz is the Co-Chair of the Energy Planning Committee of the Oberlin Project. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors of Providing Oberlin With Efficiency Responsibly (POWER) and Associate Professor of Psychology at Oberlin College.

Cooler in the Shade

Posted by Cindy Frantz on July 23, 2012 in Energy Matters

I don’t know if it’s hot as you’re reading this, but it is HOT while I’m writing it.  In Oberlin, the days we use the most electricity are the hot ones – everyone has their air conditioning on, and the refrigerators are working over time to keep things cool.  As the planet heats up, we are going to have more and more hot stretches to make it through.  But we can be smart about how we do it.

My family survives most of the summer without using AC – and the house never gets above 78 degrees (80 degrees is my freak-out point, and no one wants to go there!).  We have two main strategies:  The first is keeping heat out of the house in the first place.  The second is to get in as much cool air into the house at night as we possibly can, then lock it in during the day.

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Driving for Efficiency

Posted by Cindy Frantz on June 29, 2012 in Energy Matters

Now that summer is here, many of us are heading off in our cars on vacations and day trips.  We’d all be vacationing out at the Reservoir if we didn’t have the power of gasoline to take us hundreds of miles away.  Let’s get the most out of this superfuel.

With gas often $3.50 a gallon, there’s an obvious financial benefit to using it efficiently.  And the hot summer temperatures remind us that a planet that’s 2 degrees warmer will not be a pleasant place for our children to live.  Decreasing our gas use helps decrease our dependence on foreign oil as well.  The Consumer Federation of America estimates that simply increasing our fuel efficiency by 5 miles per gallon would save about 23 billion gallons of gasoline each year, and cut oil imports by about 14 percent.

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This Old House: Efficiency meets antiquity

Posted by Cindy Frantz on May 3, 2012 in Energy Matters

Most of us live in a house that is less than ideal in terms of energy use.  In my family’s case, this fact was obvious to us the moment we moved in.  Our house is 103 years old, and when we bought it in 2002 it was about as inefficient as any house could be.  There was no insulation; the floor joists of the attic were open to the air, so cold air blew over the second floor all winter; and there were wide cracks in the foundation that let in a constant supply of winter air into the basement (where the heating ducts are).  Old empty heating ducts in the wall meant that cold, moldy air from the basement would get syphoned up as the air above heated and rose.  And there was an extra 1950’s refrigerator guzzling electricity in the kitchen.

Where to start?  We unplugged the extra fridge right away, and as soon as it got cold we called Oberlin’s local utility, OMLPS, for a free heat loss inspection.  The OMLPS technicians broke the news that outside air was leaking in from every direction.  Before Christmas, we had an insulation company blow cellulose into the walls, and we threw up some fiberglass batting in the attic.  We pulled out the caulk gun and bought cans of spray foam insulation, and starting plugging up cracks.  It was a start.

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Changing Our Energy Habits

Posted by Cindy Frantz on April 5, 2012 in Energy Matters

I am a creature of habit. Sticking to my routines makes things go better.  For example, when I throw a shirt in the laundry basket, I have a habit of also throwing in a hanger, so that when I’m down in the basement doing the laundry, I can hang the clean shirt up right away, and avoid a lot of ironing later.  It took a while to remember to do this, but now I do it on autopilot. When we do something on autopilot we can do it more efficiently. 

Unless the habit itself is inefficient.  Chances are we all have a lot of daily behaviors that actually don’t make a lot of sense, but we do them automatically anyway because we haven’t stopped to think about them. Why do I not automatically put things like tools and scissors away when I finish using them? They clutter up my space, and the next time I need them I waste time and energy tracking them down. Sometimes they stay lost for months, and on more than one occasion I’ve bought an unneeded replacement.  That’s not efficient.

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What’s the Best Way to “Energy Diet?”

Posted by Cindy Frantz on March 8, 2012 in Energy Matters

So, you are a homeowner and you want to save energy.  You know that it’s the right thing to do, and it will save you money, but the hard part is deciding what to do.  What will give the most savings and comfort for the least hassle?


The most important step you can take to preserve your planet and your paycheck is to make investments in weatherization, insulation, and heating and cooling systems as soon as possible. These will pay dividends for as long as you live in your home, without any further effort on your part. (If you’re a renter, stay tuned.  I’ll have ideas for you in my next column.)

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What’s doing all the work? : Energy Matters in Oberlin

Posted by Cindy Frantz on February 10, 2012 in Energy Matters

Why would anyone want to read a column on Energy?  Well, because energy matters.  Let me demonstrate with a few common questions about life.

Q:  What gets you out of bed in the morning? 

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Cindy Frantz
Cindy Frantz is the Co-Chair of the Energy Planning Committee of the Oberlin Pro
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Cindy Frantz
Cindy Frantz is the Co-Chair of the Energy Planning Committee of the Oberlin Pro
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Cindy Frantz
Cindy Frantz is the Co-Chair of the Energy Planning Committee of the Oberlin Pro
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Cindy Frantz
Cindy Frantz is the Co-Chair of the Energy Planning Committee of the Oberlin Pro
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Cindy Frantz
Cindy Frantz is the Co-Chair of the Energy Planning Committee of the Oberlin Pro
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Cindy Frantz
Cindy Frantz is the Co-Chair of the Energy Planning Committee of the Oberlin Pro
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