Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Onto Solar?

Longtime readers of this blog know we're a bit maniacal about saving energy.  It's those years in Alaska, the energy-efficiency demo I did with the DOE while running the Farmer's Home Administration in the Clinton Administration, and my fundamental thriftiness (note:  I'm thrifty with my money, and thrifty with yours as well....).

At the Pala Avenue house, we installed a panoply of energy-saving devices...occupancy- and vacancy-sensor switches, insulation, double paned glass, low flow bath fixtures, a second furnace to replace the baseboard heat upstairs, and so on (I'll tell you a little secret--the Pala house is going on the market at the end of April!).

Here at our Pacific Avenue house, we've reworked the ducts, installed a Nest thermostat, and are installing double-paned glass in the original windows and skylight in the former artist's studio, which today act as a flue to drive warm air up and out of the house.  Meanwhile, our electric bill is huge because there are way too many halogen lights in the house, and the Remaining Son's room can get chilly, so he turns on the baseboard heat in his office alcove (and doesn't turn it off as he leaves for school).

We have so much low-hanging fruit that we haven't gotten serious about solar, and for me at least, "waste as much electricity as you want on those lights because you can get it for cheap from solar panels" is not a compelling argument.

But the Sungevity folks stopped by today and we'll talk again on Friday about what solar could do for our situation.  They're the company (run by a Kennedy, btw) that leases solar panels.  I'll let you know how it goes.

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