Everyone can profit greenly

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Batteries Not Included: Why Most Solar Homes Don’t Need Storage

The first question people usually ask after learning that I have solar panels on my roof is whether I bought a battery backup system as well. This makes sense from a basic off grid viewpoint, but not so much in the real world. Most electrical grids have such low levels of renewable generation right now that they can easily act like huge batteries for the small numbers of people who get solar roofs. For grids like this installing individual battery systems is a waste of resources. In this post I’ll try delve into why most solar homes don’t need their own energy storage yet and how this will change in the future.

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1,000+ MPGe eBike to Profit

We’re in the midst of a quiet transportation revolution right now. Recent advances in electric motors and batteries have made electric cars a reality and they’re getting cheaper and better every day. A lot of people have noticed this, but electric bicycles (eBikes) haven’t gotten nearly as much attention. These machines are so efficient they can have lower emissions per mile than walking or pedaling a regular bike. Back to the Future II promised us hoverboards by 2015. Instead, we got eBikes that get over 1,000 MPGe and save us thousands more dollars than they cost. Maybe the future’s not so bad?

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Net Zero and Profit in 2 Easy Steps

The idea of having a net zero home, one that generates as much power as it consumes, is very exciting. Some people are interested in it to help save the planet, others like the idea of never paying another power bill, or the freedom of energy independence. For a long time, net zero homes were so expensive and complicated that they were simply dreams for most people. In this post I’ll explain how I did it, and how you can to.

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If College Endowments Value Profit Why Aren’t They Installing Solar?

Recently, there’s been a big push to get colleges and universities to sell their fossil fuel holdings. This divestment movement has often hit resistance from administrators who say that their endowments should be invested to produce the maximum return on investment (ROI). What if it turned out that those endowments were already not maximizing their ROI because they weren’t investing in solar panels to power their schools? University endowments are hurting both the world and their bottom lines by this inaction. Read on to find out why.

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Hardware Store Gifts for Toddlers: Durable, Useful, and Fun

The holidays are here again. Americans will spend over $1 trillion in the next month. Much of this will be on worthless junk whose only purpose is to momentarily entertain our kids. If we gave gifts that actually replaced “regular” needed shopping we could save resources while still bringing our kids joy. This year try heading to the hardware store for presents that are fun, useful and money saving.

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DIY Old Phone Into Free GPS Bike Tracker

Riding a bike instead of driving is one of the most profitable life choices you can make, along with one of the greenest. It can literally save you tens of thousands of dollars over just a few short years and keep tons of carbon out of the atmosphere. All of this savings can quickly be erased if your bikes just keep getting stolen though. Today I’ll show you a cheap and easy way to help avoid bike theft, and catch the perps.

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How the EV Transition Will Affect Car Prices

Cars are one of the major sources of pollution in the world and a huge drag on people’s wallets. Right now we’re at the start of a massive shift in car technology. If prices for batteries and EV motors continue their downward trends then new EVs will MSRPs similar to gas cars sometime between 2022 and 2024. This is really quite soon and as people start to understand that EVs have much lower maintenance and fuel costs than gas cars the transition may be quicker than many people are currently anticipating. How this will affect the prices of cars, both new and used is a very interesting question that has a direct impact on your financial life. Should you buy a used Tesla now? How about a hot new Dodge Hellcat or a “practical” Honda Civic? Read on to find out.

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Solar ROI or: How I Learned to Liquidate Bonds Without Worrying and Love the Sun

When my family moved to PA we knew we wanted to generate our own energy with solar panels. We had a lot of evidence that made us think a solar array would be a good investment, even in cloudy central PA. Of course the broad findings of research don’t always hold true for every individual. In this post I’ll review how our solar system has performed over its first full year and what sort of return on investment (ROI) that gave us. Did our solar panels actually make us money, or were we bleeding out cash to be climate do-gooders?

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Don’t Give Up on The Climate Just Yet

My uncle sent me this New Yorker piece about how we should all just give up on fixing climate change. I saw that the author was Jonathon Franzen, and while I couldn’t quite put my finger on anything he’d written the name rung a bell and this recognition gave me the initial impression that he must be a smart guy. After reading the article I’m convinced he’s an idiot and just the sort of science skimming pessimist that I can live without. He starts out by saying that “we’ve made essentially no progress” on climate when a more accurate statement would be that we have made a ton of progress, but have not yet substantially reduced our total emissions.

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Heat Pump ROI – First Year Data

Upgrading an old oil furnace and AC unit to a new high efficiency heat pump has been one of the two keys to making my family’s home in PA produce more energy than it consumes (the other of course was adding a big fat solar array). Now that we’ve lived in the house for over a year I thought it would be a good time to look back at the data and see what sort of return on investment (ROI) this heat pump has given us.

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