Smart Americans are no longer whining about the cost of energy, they are doing something about it. From investments being made by average people as well as like investments being made by sophisticated multi-million dollar businesses, people are taking the cost of energy seriously. Now the pace of adoption to alternative solutions has reached critical-mass and no one that has adopted will ever go back.
Solutions ranging from wind, solar, geothermal, fuel cells and battery power are available at retail stores for all to purchase. Most important, vendors and installers have solid track-records placing these solutions into the market and removing the risk borne by the early adopters.
Even solutions for treating water are taking off in San Diego. You may know this already but San Diego was one of the first Counties to fully adopt low-flow toilets and shower-heads. Now these devices are in every new building built over the past decade, saving individuals and businesses millions in combined water costs. Over the next decade the savings related to energy will be even larger than those already experienced in the water area.
As a matter of fact, San Diego not only approved the largest Desalination plant on the West Coast in November 2012, San Diego also brought their newest water-powered energy plant online. This first-of-it’s-kind plant transfers water between dams – generating energy during peak demand when energy costs are highest and drawing the water back at night when energy costs are lowest. This places more power on the grid during the time it is most needed while utilizing a source that would otherwise be sitting in a reservoir in a stand-by mode … basically slowly evaporating.
Smart Americans are taking charge of high-energy costs and saving millions in the process.
As of today, unleaded gasoline in San Diego is averaging $4.00 per gallon – $80.00 per tankful for the average vehicle that will go 300 miles per tank. It is not uncommon for working San Diegans to travel an average round trip of 50 miles per day meaning most will fill up once per week. What are San Diegans doing about this?
Well, I for one replaced a gas-powered Mercedes SUV that averaged 14 miles per gallon with a diesel-powered Mercedes SUV that averages 28 miles per gallon. Same vehicle, same performance; 50% improvement in fuel economy. My fuel dollar goes twice as far.
I am clearly not alone. The number-one selling vehicle model in 2012 was the Toyota Prius. At 40-45 miles per gallon, this vehicle is saving owners real dough and making the high-cost of gasoline just a bit less painful. The owners of the Chevy Volt are no longer being sneered at for spending $40k on their vehicles because they are most happy with their styling, vehicle quality and most importantly, they do not have electric-anxiety because they have a vehicle that gives them a gasoline option as well as an electric option. Tesla offers an all-electric model that gets 350 miles per full-charge; a model that has BMW and Audi owners trading their gas-models for the highly-styled Tesla.
These are now over 35 American car models offering hybrid solutions so in the words of the great poet, Charlie Sheen … WINNING!
I, along with many other American’s have also invested in transforming my largest liability, my home and office, into better performing assets by lowering the cost of energy. My corporate office was built to a high-level of sustainability and we achieved LEED CI GOLD. The letters mean more to me than to you but the practical benefit of my office building is by focusing on sustainability , we have lowered our energy and water consumption by over 50%, reduced our costs related to disposal of waste by over 70% and reduced our space requirements by 18%. All told, our move to sustainability 5 years ago with our new building has reduced my capital expense by over $200,000 and my operating expense by $120,000 in just 5 years.
Today my residential neighbors have adopted similar philosophies and are saving as well. One neighbor drilled a well and no longer purchases water from our water utility. Another neighbor removed all grass from their landscape and planted only natives saving 75% off their water bill. 2 neighbors are using either solar panels or fuel-cells as their primary energy system. The solar-user has cut their energy costs by 60% while the fuel-cell user cut theirs by 70%. Another neighbor switched out their A/C unit for units with the highest EER available -driving down their cooling costs.
My home does not have one interior light-fixture that is not an LED fixture. Frankly I save money keeping the lights on! Our block even committed to only LED Christmas lights. Everyone is saving and no one feels like they had to give anything up.
Smart Americans are kicking-ass and taking names. They have seen the problem by looking in the mirror. They have been the great-consumer of every molocule of water, unit of electricity, and square-foot of space. Yet we are all the change we were looking for. Our decision to get energy independent is lowering all of our costs …. forever!
Along the way as we adopt this new strategy, we are also driving economic activity for the nation. That deserves an “Amen”! Amen.
In the future, look to the energy industry to continue to drive-up costs. As business people they are now dealing with the perfect storm. Even without cap&trade or cumbersome carbon-trading regulations, smart American’s are simply “opting-out” and buying less of their product. Do you know how most monopolies react when less of their product is being purchased? They simply charge more to make up the difference. This model only works when the audence is trapped or captive. A nation without options is a captive audience and will simply have to eat-it. That description no longer fits the smart American.
Don’t be their chump. Get as independent as you can without going full “Grizzly-Adams” and living in the forest. Sustainable solutions are abundant and available. We have better options today than we have ever had and they are right in front of us for the taking.
Become a smart American and start winning the battle against high-energy costs.