Monday, October 15, 2007

Green is back as the Greenback Payback (???)

I have had the privilege of speaking with many folks in the local community about becoming energy independent. Most times, we would cover the range of issues that contemporary media make relevant by virtue of their reporting. But going beyond that takes them to an uncharted territory.

Nevertheless, the conversations almost always gravitate to becoming “Green” in general. Unsurprisingly, many ask what the payback is to make an investment in “Going Green.” So, it would seem that the incentive for “Going Green” is getting “Green” back – that is the Greenback (as our Dollar is affectionately called). This can be a misnomer as “Going Green” can cost more than the Green you get back (think Greenback). The reason is tied to simple nuances in the variations of the definition of terms we use to discuss this phenomenon. I would be asked: “Does it make economic sense?”, “Is it financially feasible?”, etc. Both questions to the untrained eye mean the same thing. But does it? I will answer that in a later post – stay tuned! ;-)

Getting back to the point of the post.

I was recently helping an uncle of mine move into his newly purchased home where we talked about energy independence and the notion of paybacks. I gave the example that if my home lacked proper insulation, it could create a problem where the resistance to heat is low enough that the air conditioner would come on frequently to cool down the home. This frequent running of the AC translates to higher energy usage and finally a higher electric energy bill.

After discussing the benefits of diminishing this problem we talked about a recent remodel job he did to the bathroom of his recently purchased home. So, I wittingly asked: What kind of payback do you expect?

He returned a blank stare and asked: “Payback?! I have a bathroom that I can proudly use and entertain guests without shame. I remodeled it because it needed to get done, not because of any payback.”

I wonder if his point would be well taken.

Knowledge is power: Wield it.

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