Local News

Family Forgoes Air-Conditioning for Summer

Posted August 9, 2007 7:46 p.m. EDT
Updated August 9, 2007 8:43 p.m. EDT

— Tracey Olilveto and Jerry Stifelman moved to Carrboro for a simpler life.

Both work at home. They’re writers and environmentalists. But the couple has been getting a lot of attention lately, and it all started with a wedding gift.

Their friend Sami was getting married and said he felt guilty about the pollution caused by his plans to fly away on his honeymoon.

“That's when we decided, for the month of June, the month he was getting married and going on his honeymoon, we would not use the air conditioning to further off-set what was happening with his airplane flight,” Olilveto said.

With no air-conditioning, the family relied on a ceiling fan, shade trees and a new awning to help block the sunlight and keep the house cool.

“June was beautiful,” Olilveto said. “June was easy.”

Their son, Shay, caught up on summer reading under the ceiling fan. They decided to stretch the gift through the summer. Then came July.

“It felt a little harder,” Olilveto said. “And that was the first time I started shedding as much as I could with clothing and keeping the shades drawn."

Now it’s August and 100 degrees.

“We definitely had to make some concessions, in part just to get some sleep,” Olilveto said.

But during the day, they still shut down the A/C.

“It's funny to do something that makes sense and get attention," Stifelman said.

It’s not so funny when you realize they cut their electricity bill in half.

The couple is receiving national attention as well. They will be featured on the syndicated public radio program "The Story" on Friday. The show is produced at WUNC-FM.