Are you really doing good by conserving today?

I hate to sound un-PC, but I’ve recently found that my efforts to be more energy efficient seem to require making bad econmic decisions which makes me wonder…if we all did this would we help or hurt the economy.

I’ve been working on putting a solar system at my colorado house to heat my pool. Good idea, right? Well, how about if it costs so much that it would take 20+ yrs to pay for itself? The solar guy was shocked and confused when I asked to see the economics though he was ready to explain all the environmental benefits.

Does this mean that only people rich enough to not care about money can do environmentally friendly investments?

my capitalist dna tells me that any time we do something that is not efficient use of capital its bad for society.

Maybe we’re supposed to do these things for appearances, like when your friends are over and they ask you where your recycle bin is (uh, I’m in between bins). Or how we’re all supposed to act happy to drive prius’s even though they still cost a lot and don’t look like fun.

Is it guilt capital? Well, I know how we americans and especially myself are using more than our fair share of the planet’s resources so if I just recycle my bottles, drive a prius and waste a ton of money on solar panels maybe it’ll make up for it.

I can’t wait for the day when it does pay to make the right environmental choices and I hope our next president will lead the way on policies that incent this. In the meantime, ill hold off on the opportunity to invest 50k in solar panels to save 200 a month on heating a pool for three months.
Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

3 thoughts on “Are you really doing good by conserving today?

  1. you must have a large pool. We are looking into solar to heat our neighborhood pool (outdoors, summer only) and the cost is looking in the $12-15k range and needs to be equal to about 1/3 the area of the pool. We are looking at a payback time frame of 5 years, which I think is reasonable. I’ve also heard that thermal covers help quite a bit, since much of the heat escapes during the night. Good luck.

  2. Don’t feel bad about throwing away aluminum or glass bottles. Here’s a justification: Cans and bottles will be available to be mined out of landfills in the future when it makes economic sense. Further, these purified metals and glass are made with today’s presumably cheaper energy and will act to essentially store this energy for “use” in the future when energy is likely much more expensive.
    For newspaper and other biodegradable materials, however, I do recommend recycling, as that material can’t be recovered in the future.

  3. “my capitalist dna tells me that any time we do something that is not efficient use of capital its bad for society.”
    a lot of our economy runs on luxury items at this point. were the umpty ump million itunes downloads efficient uses of capital? eye of the beholder.
    i get a kick out of my prius, but it’s only fun because it hauls my mountain bike to the trail … but the whole mountain biking thing may not be an efficient use of capital either 😉

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