Life is busy as always, and it took a detailed question from a Palo Alto Eichler owner to remind me that I haven't updated the blog in a while. Granted the remodeling efforts are largely complete, but there are longer term projects we continue to embark on.
This post is not so much about a change to the house, as an addition to its contents in September 2011 that go along the theme of creating a green, efficient house.
Can you guess??
Need another hint??
Beep Beep!! Say hello to our new Nissan Leaf EV!!
Now granted in late June 2012 and over 10,000 gasoline free miles it isn't exactly "new" but it is a blog-worth addition. How, you ask?
The Leaf replaced our newer Civic and allows us to use the carpool lane, the #1 benefit, other than not having to fill it up or have any regular maintenance other than battery checks. With the Federal and California government subsidies and a FREE home charging unit, the delta in cost was only a few thousand dollars over our Civic. In addition, it costs a little over 1c/mile to operate, which speeds the payback to break-even substantially, with gas hovering around the $4 mark, it will take just ~3.5 years until the Leaf overtakes the Civic on operating costs.
Of course I was a little hesitant on how much this would increase our electricity rates (and move us towards solar), I was pleasantly surprised that with an 80+ mile/day commute, it is only adding about $40/month to our costs. That is less than ONE tank of gas that wouldn't even last a week.
Even so, I wondered about solar and how much it would take to break even on that investment with an EV. Sizing a system for a possible future PHEV SUV (I hope), it STILL would take 15 years to break-even because of the efficiency we've built into the Eichler remodel with roofing, insulation and glass. I guess PG&E will get our money for time to come until solar takes the next step in cost-down manufacturing.
I do believe I'll have more posts in 2012, as we need to replace a few of our fences and we're researching how to add a fireplace remodel, so stay tuned!