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Switching struggling Maritime forest companies to energy producers / We dig deeper into the root cellar idea - for houses and institutions / Phone-in: Art Irwin with advice on damp basements and answers to home heating questions

From Energy Consumer To Energy Producer ? A drop in lumber exports to the US, industry consolidation, and layoffs and closures at pulp mills have all added to uncertainty in one of the region's most venerable business sectors.
But is it possible - or desirable - to retool an industry which consumes large amounts of energy into a producer of energy ? If so, would it be sustainable ?
Scott Travers believes it's time for the forest industry to radically rethink what it's doing.  Mr Travers is president of Minas Basin Pulp and Power. When he appeared recently before Nova Scotia's Standing Committee on Resources, he was asked what the future held for the forestry industry. He replied that the real driver will be energy security.  

Getting To The Root of a Solution: On our March 26th phone-in, our guest was Jim Merkel of Belfast, Maine. He's the author of Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth. He talked about ways of scaling back unnecessary consumption - which not only saves money but reduces waste and pressure on natural resources.  
As is often the case in phone-ins - one of the things that came up in conversation with the guest seemed to seize your attention. Towards the end of the show, caller Heather Williams of Economy, NS suggested that building codes should require that new homes include a "cold room" or "root cellar". Several of you commented favourably on this. Then we heard about Jim Merkel's large-scale project : he's going to teach a course at Unity College in Maine that will lead to the construction of a commercial-sized rootcellar.

The Scourge of Damp Basements: Jim Merkel might have piqued a lot of interest in the topic of cold rooms, but you won't be keeping vegetables or anything else down there if it's not dry. Basement dampness isn't only unhelpful - it's unhealthy, since it can create ideal conditions for the growth of mould. And over time, water infiltration in your basement can lead to structural problems.
The combination of the spring thaw and spring rains make this the season when you're most likely to detect the problem of a leaky basement.
Art Irwin - who operates Irwin Energy Consulting Services in Halifax - returned with advice on how best to deal with the problem in the short run and over the long term. He also answered questions about home heating and energy conservation.
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