April 14, 2008

Doing my green thing

I've been renovating Casa Klein over the last year, slowly moving from room to room installing hardwood floors, recessed lighting, and in general moving the rooms into the 21st century style wise. Welcome to the pleasures associated with owning a 1960's house. I find the physical labor cathartic after working in an office all week.

I love electrical work, but I hate installing recessed lighting. I'll tear open a wall with pleasure and do limited time in the attic, but you've got to have skill and patience in the attic to get recessed cans in. I've got a killer electrician who does this work for me. He put standard bulbs in all the new recessed lighting, and I noticed how much my electrical bills have gone up over time even though we haven't made any other significant changes to the house or changed our electrical consumption patterns. We know about those patterns and our big electrical consumption items due to a school project Gabi did on the topic!

This weekend we installed CFL bulbs in the living room and dining room. I still have to remove a dimmer in the dining room to optimize this change, but the net effect was brighter lighting at a fraction of the energy consumption. I'm researching recessed, dimmable CFLs for my man room, as I need the dimming capable for movies and video games! LED lighting would be amazing, but the technology needs to mature some. I'm going to order and install a few LED lights just as a test.

We also completely replaced our pool hardware due to a catastrophic failure a couple of weeks back, and while the failure sucked from an operational perspective, it gave us the chance to install a new energy efficient two stage pump for the pool. We also plumbed the new system for solar heating, which we'll add in the next month or so. Our pool is going to kick ass this summer, and it will be way more energy efficient.

Still want to get my Prius, but I have to wait to see what the tax bill is going to be this year. AMT is evil. Designed to tax the wealthy and now it taxes people it was never intended for. So my Prius waits to see if Uncle Sam is going to screw me for working hard and investing in small companies on the side.

Premium gas is now consistently over $4/gallon here. I love my current car, but it's time to do the right thing given the number of miles I drive for work. Besides, it will cosmically balance out the sports car I really want ;-)

Green but fun, that's my motto!

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