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Going Green: How much will it cost me to save the planet?

Earth Day 1970
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

This is a question that more and more people around the world are asking. Some folks are doing little things like putting in the curly light bulbs. While others are, what some would lovingly call, going off the deep end. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t find myself behind a gas saving hybrid plastered with “Go GREEN” weatherproof, plastic bumper stickers, firmly attached with oil based adhesive. I guess a little poetic license is allowed now and then.

One of my favorite chrome quotes is, “My bike is powered by me!” That may be true, but if you don’t oil that chain now and then, and keep grease in the bearings, then all you will power will be your Nikes. Either of which would be good for the environment. So I guess it’s a win-win.

What will all this saving cost me anyway?

A couple of years ago we started replacing the older appliances in our home. The hot water heater was the first to go so we got a new energy saver model of course. I don’t think there was any other option available. We could save a little energy with the forty-gallon tank but even more with the fifty-gallon version. I couldn’t help but notice that the more energy we saved the more energy it took out of the bank account.

Later on, we added a new stove and dishwasher — both energy savers. We installed new light fixtures in all the ceilings. But I think the only non-curly, incandescent bulbs in the whole house are in my office and the reading lamp between our chairs. It seems we both enjoy being able to actually see whatever it is we’re reading.

I was very excited to learn that the electric company will come out to the house and do an energy audit free of charge. They claim they will tell me all the ways I can reduce my electric usage so I can send them less money each month. That’s like a wedding planner telling a couple how much they can save on the cost of the wedding by not getting married. Not exactly sure that’s the type of business model I would recommend.

Time is on my side.

I started doing my taxes this week and thought I might compare this years electric costs versus the previous year. By using advanced calculus, all the new appliances should save enough energy to pay for themselves just before the next ice age or my 120th birthday whichever comes first.

I’m still not totally on board with the whole global warming thing. I suppose only time will tell if it’s real or not. So doing a few things here and there can’t hurt. And, if I can save a buck or two in the process, then I guess I can shop the Co-op without the fake beard and dark glasses. As Kermit so wisely said, “It’s not easy bein’ green.”

 

 

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