For the first three years of our marriage, my husband and I rented a cramped apartment in the city. While our commute to our jobs was short, we were unhappy with the noise, traffic and lack of privacy. When we were ready to start a family, we began a search for a farmhouse in the country. We were delighted to find a big, old house with a wide front porch, large backyard, and the original hardwood floors. We imagined sitting on the porch sipping lemonade, leaving our windows open to catch the breeze, and hanging laundry on the clothesline. Having never owned a home, we were not prepared for the challenge of heating and cooling. The first winter in the house, we discovered the drawbacks of high ceilings, tons of ancient windows, and a house with insufficient insulation in the walls. The furnace ran non stop, cost us a fortune, and yet the house constantly felt chilly. We simply couldn’t combat the drafts of cold outside air coming in through leaks. My husband and I took out a home improvement loan and invested in energy saving measures such as new windows, duct sealing, and blown-in insulation for the walls and attic. We were anxious for the weather to warm up, and hoping to avoid excessive energy bills over the summer. Unfortunately, our home is located on a dirt road, in close proximity to a sheep farm. Because of the dust, odors and flies, we are unable to keep our windows open. We can’t stand to sit on the porch, and I wouldn’t dare hang clothes on the line. We’re now saving up to install a central cooling system.