Screaming Into The Abyss

Blog Action Day 2009: Global Warming
By Ben Zvan
On October 15, 2009 at 10:51

CompactToday is blog action day from what I'm told and the topic is global warming. I wanted to address the issue of return on investment (ROI) from green practices.

People say you can't make money from green technology like lower gas mileage and renewable energy. What they're really saying is that you can't make a quick buck from any of those things. They're not counting in any ROI outside of 2-5 years and they're not counting the potential cost of global warming. That's all a bunch of hooey because we're all going to be here much longer than 5 years.

From an anecdotal and personal standpoint, I can definitely say that I am saving money through green living: I invested in new windows, a handful of insulation and a high-efficiency boiler for my home last fall. My savings just in heating costs is around $140 per month. Now, I'm not going to pay off the upgrades to my house for many years but I raised the resale value of my property and I am using the savings to pay my mortgage down faster, which is compounding my savings by reducing my total interest paid.

Four years ago, I chose to take a job that was within walking distance of my home. As a result, I drive around 30,000 miles less each year than I used to. At my average of about 24 MPG, that's a $3,000 per year savings. Just take a moment and imagine being able to give yourself a $3,000 raise. I know the job market is tight right now and that may not be a good option, but it may be again soon.

All my electric power, which I mostly use for computers, is from WindSource. In my area, it's an extra few cents per KWh. I know I'm not making money off that deal, but I also know that less natural gas and coal are being used as a result. This is an even greener move than converting all my light bulbs to CF which, by the way, is a significant and immediate savings.

So, when you look at the cost of doing something green, don't think about the quick returns, think about the long-term savings.

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