Solar Lease vs. Power Purchase Agreement

by staff on February 12, 2013

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Going solar can be a costly investment, but it doesn’t have to be. Solar system leasing and PPA’s are making solar more accessible than ever, with little to no money down and reasonable monthly payment plans. But what are you getting yourself into?

Typical residential solar leases range from 10 to 20 years. A solar energy company will install and own the panels, and the homeowner will have a monthly payment plan. When your lease is over, there are a few options. The lease can be renewed for a new amount of time, buy out the system for a fair market value, or ask to have your system removed by the leasing company. It is smart to get a quote on the specific buy-out value before leasing the system.  If the value is vague, the leasing company can name any price they want at that point and generally do not benefit the homeowner. If you move before your lease is over, the lease can be transferred to the new owner, which is great since solar power increases the value of your home. [read more…]

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Green New Year’s Resolutions

by staff on January 12, 2013

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Start (or Continue) Recycling

For every trash can of waste you put outside for the trash collector, about 70 trash cans of waste are used in order to create that trash. To reduce the amount of waste you produce, buy products in returnable and recyclable containers and recycle as much as you can. The energy saved from recycling a single aluminum can operate a television for three hours! If your community doesn’t provide containers for recycling, designate a bin in your garage for recyclables to make it easy for you and your family to recycle things like the newspaper and aluminum cans. [read more…]

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Winter vs. Summer Electrical Usage

by staff on January 4, 2013

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Winter months are often an energy consumption and budget strain. On an annual basis, the average usage is about 600 kWh per month for a household. The summer average is about 500 kWh, while the winter average is over 700 kWh. The average winter bill is usually over $100.

There are things you can do to reduce your usage and make sure your bill doesn’t rise as the temperature drops. If it is possible, check your electric meter. Think about what you have on in the house and look at your meter and see how fast it is spinning. The faster it spins, the more electricity is being used at that moment.

Electric block heaters for cars and trucks can be heavy electric users. Many electric block heaters are 1,500 watt heaters and use as much electricity as fifteen 100 watt light bulbs. If you are plugging in your truck every night, you might consider a timer. Having the timer set to go off one or two hours before you have to leave in the morning is usually enough to let your vehicle start easily. [read more…]

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Green Your Holiday Travel

by staff on December 26, 2012

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As the holiday hustle-and-bustle begins, millions of Americans will be traveling this season. Whether you’ll be up in the air, or stuck in traffic, here are a few ways to make holiday travel more eco-friendly.

Offset Your Carbon Footprint

Terapass helps airline travelers offset their carbon footprints and many travel websites also offer carbon-offset options for a nominal fee. Credits can be purchased according to the number of people traveling. Two non-profit groups, CarbonFund.org and Sustainable Travel International, help travelers pick tax-deductible carbon offsets for all kinds of travel. If you’re flying this holiday season, try to book a direct flight. Direct flights use less gas–plus, they’re easier on the passenger. If possible, pack a carryon bag in order to avoid the carbon and financial cost of a checked suitcase. [read more…]

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Post image for Holiday Survival Guide: How to Handle “Green” Conversations

With the holidays coming up, love it or hate it, it usually means lots of quality time spent with family and friends. If you are a greenie, you may encounter questions and conversation (interrogation) from relatives about your lifestyle, knowledge, and opinions. [read more…]

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