Episode 16 - From Energy Reduction to Energy Freedom

Episode description: Two firsts on the show this week! One sad but inevitable, the other a potential way towards permanent energy freedom and profit.

Intro: Welcome to 1000 Ways Green! The show where we give busy people like you easy ways to help save the planet for our future generations, and of course, try to save you money along the way. But this week we'll be having two firsts on the show. One sad and one with tremendous potential. We'll also be continuing on the theme of energy Dan started 2 weeks ago.

Onto this week's three things…well kind of. I’m going to try something a little different this week. Let me know what you think.

I’m going to tell you a story of twin brothers; Max and Jax. Both boys got pretty good grades, graduated high school together but weren’t always the best of friends so they decided to go out of state for college. One went east, the other west. Four years later both young men had grown up a bit and realized they missed their brother and decided to move back to their hometown. They decided to get matching apartments right next to each other so they could be close but still live their lives in the way they preferred thinking it would be happily ever after. But Max made small conscientious choices in his apartment like closing and opening the blinds at the appropriate times like we talked about in episode 14 along with not just closing his windows but locking them to ensure a tighter seal to keep heat from leaking in and out of his apartment. Jax was much more lax with these things and went with the flow. If everything else was the same in these twin’s lives and we checked back in 10 years Jax would have spent between $600-$1200 more than his brother on heating his home.

However all other things are not equal between the brothers and that first spring of being in the apartment Max decided to pick up a medium size solar panel with a battery that he could put on his porch to get free energy from the sun. He put the battery inside the porch door and was able to power his entire living room using free power from the sun for a good chunk of the year. It also cut his overall electricity cost by over ⅓. Now Jax saw this and said it was a waste of his money to spend a couple hundred dollars on that stupid system and walked away. If we were to check back in 2-4 years though, he would have earned all that money back in savings. After 10 years he’d be up about $1600 dollars.

However, after a while both of the brothers decide they are done with apartment life and want to buy a house (FYI as far as greenhouse gasses go, they shouldn’t, apartments are far more efficient per person). They buy houses next to each other and since Max has been loving what his small solar system can do decides to go all in and buy rooftop solar for his house. He had been saving up and paid for them up front, therefore saving money on interest on a loan. For the next 30 years he ends up paying less for electricity in the winter and getting a check from the eclectic company in the summer, basically being even and never having to pay for electricity again. When he tells this to his brother, Jax responds with “You just decided to pay yours up front where I can give my money away slowly”. What Jax doesn’t realize is that every year the cost of electricity goes up and he is paying more, whereas Max is not, which saves him even more…and that is the story of two twin brothers making just a few decisions and one of them paying over $12,000 more than the other for the same life.

If that tale wasn’t clear enough let me lay it out: Mint Green: Lock your windows when you close them. Shamrock green: Buy an off grid solar system, and forest green put solar panels on your home.

For a bit of backstory here: While I don’t have a twin brother, many of the things Max did in this story I did. I still have the single 100W solar panel and battery I bought years ago and up until this week it has fully powered my laptop that I use to make this podcast. Unfortunately between shorter days here in MN and very non-sunny weather I had to use the wall outlet. That was the first first this week. The 2nd first is that as of this week I’ve had rooftop solar installed for 1 year. Both of those solar choices are probably my favorites I have made over the years. “But what about us Daddy?” Ok, I probably should include my daughters and wife in that, but for now back to solar energy. If you’re interested in a small off grid system I have a few options linked for you in the show notes. I’d link you to the exact ones I have but I macgyvered mine together and it was a lot of work, these are meant to work together and are much easier. I also have a link to the solar company we went with for our house panels that I think will get you money off your installation if you go down that route. If you would like to look more into how our costs have changed I have linked to our electricity bills the year before the solar panels were put on and the year after. Sneak peak, one of the months this summer we received a check for over $184!

Thank you for listening and trying to help us out, I really appreciate you. As a reminder I have created a sustainable gift list that I ask you to look at for gifts for you and your loved ones before you go off to buy other non sustainable options. You can find the list on our 1000waysgreen.com website.

Links from the show:

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