Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kermit Was Right

It ain't easy bein' green.

I've been trolling the web for over a year trying to find an affordable wind turbine for the house we're building. One of the 1.5KW turbines I researched had an MSRP of $7500 and a 40 year break even point, if I installed it myself. The company selling this particular product recommended that the installers charge between $7500 and $20,000 for the install alone, based on degree of difficulty. This is a company that only cares about the green they can put in their pocket, and is apparently convinced that there are enough fools out there to help them rake it in. Let's hope they're wrong.

Pacwind sells the 3KW vertical axis wind turbine featured on Living With Ed for less than $5000, but has recently experienced some quality control and customer service issues. At least they are closer to having a product with a reasonable break even point.

What is a reasonable price for a 3KW wind turbine? I'm not convinced that any of them have more than $1000 invested in parts and labor, including the inverter needed to tie the system into the power grid. If you are a wind turbine manufacturer, and you put a 50% mark-up on your product, they will fly out the door, you'll get rich, and as a bonus will play a big part in saving the environment and weaning this country off of foreign oil. That doesn't seem like a bad deal.

We're building in Hays county, Texas. Hays county recently outlawed gray water recovery systems, due to the large number of people installing them incorrectly and causing the run-off to discharge into the creeks and aquifers.

We are having a rainwater recovery system installed, instead of drilling a well. The costs will be the same, but the impact on the environment will be much less.

Way out of our league, for now. We'll build the house solar panel ready, and hope the rumors of a big price drop in the next few years actually happens.

We're insulating our new home with a soy based foam. The foam, along with the aluminum roof, will cut our electricity costs dramatically, by a whopping 70%!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes We Did!

Tonight the United States of America lived up to its promise.

I was a child during the civil rights movement of the sixties, unaware that it was even going on. We were never taught to hate in my house, and it was a shock to me as I got older and became exposed to the hatred and racial bias around me. Why do so many hate because of skin color? It's as arbitrary to me as hating someone because of the color of their eyes, or hair.

We've still got such a long way to go, but tonight was a wonderful, giant step forward on our journey; not only as a nation, but as human beings. As my wife and I whooped at the announcement of the election results, and later cried tears of joy at President-Elect Obama's acceptance speech, I could only believe that tonight God has truly blessed America.