I’m Turning Green

by Ed on January 3, 2007

Lately I’ve been trying to do what I can to help out with this whole global warming thing. For one, I’ve just got myself a new Prius. This car is awesome. Not only is the technology of the car very cool, but the tech inside the car is quite nice too. It has the best nav system I’ve ever used by far. It makes the one in my other car look pretty sad (but I’ll live with it since that car does 0-60 in under 50% the time of the Prius).

I also really like how quiet the car is at times when you are on battery-only. It makes me long for the day when we have a completely electric solution. Though in such a future I can’t imagine it being much fun for sports cars. I mean, part of a sports car’s allure is the sound of the engine. So I’m not sure how a car like the Tesla would really be to have. Certainly looks cool though (though it’s tiny).

So far I’ve only filled it once since I got it on Dec 10th. Of course I was away for a week so it’s not like I got 20 days out of it. But I just filled it on Sunday and it’s still registering as full. Sweet! My latest average is about 37mpg. In general it seems like I’ll probably need to refill every fortnight or so. That’s about half the Porsche, and the Prius only needs 10 gallons to fill (the last fill only took 8.5) where the 997 requires about 15. So I venture I’m using a third of the gas I would if I drove the 997 every day. The funny thing about my last fillup is that this guy in this Jaguar came over to me and started talking to me about the car. Turns out he’s been waiting for 5 months to get a black Touring edition. Priuses are easy to get these days, but they stopped making the Touring for a bit and as a result they are harder to come by. But they’ll start flooding showrooms again shortly. I opted for the non-touring since I have another car that has a sports suspension after all.

I’ve been trying in recent days to drive it more normally as I think that gets better mileage, not trying to go slow. Though I admit to trying to take it through the Yahoo! parking lot on all battery power (and I don’t end up going any slower than I otherwise would as it turns out). And I’ll also admit that I like to coast at times as that charges my battery 🙂 There’s actually a sweet spot while you are just driving at a constant speed where you can really get the mpgs going. I was getting 40-60 going down the highway earlier tonight.

The other thing I’ve done recently is sign the contract to get a new Photovoltaic system installed in our house. Our electrical bill is estimated to go from about $1100/year to about $183. Very nice. They should start work on this in about 2 weeks.

The real reasons for both of these choices are not to save money, but rather to do what I can to drop my carbon emissions. Solar is actually a great thing to do for your house because not only does it cut down on what we need to use from the grid, thus reducing our need for any carbon-emitting fuel sources there, but it acts as local power to the immediate area around us, so we save energy since I think it’s something like half the energy is lost getting the power from the plant to your house along the lines. So the closer the power source is, the less power is wasted.

Another reason solar is good is simply because it increases the value of your home. Hey, we have almost totally free electricity in our house and that’s worth something, right?

We still will use natural gas for our hot water and our radiant heating system (I live in an Eichler). Natural gas unfortunately is still a carbon-emitter, but we aren’t going to switch those systems to anything else so our choices there are to get a thermal solar system (which some say are maintenance issues, but I don’t really know), or to switch to a smaller on-demand hot water system. This is probably the course I’ll take when we get around to it.

I’m really looking forward to getting these panels installed. Turns out we only need 4 rows of panels on our roof, which was less than I thought. And we have plenty of roof left so if we need more power later we can add on. I also can’t wait to see my meter running backwards (yes, it really does).

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

jonathan January 4, 2007 at 8:24 am

I’m so with you on the sports car sound. I remember reading the Wired article on the Tesla and thinking how much I would miss the roar of the engine, no matter how fast it went.

Btw, your opinion on Carbon Credits is conspicuously absent. 😉

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Ed January 4, 2007 at 9:12 am

Heh. I had started typing a paragraph about that, but changed my mind. Perhaps another time 😛

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Erin Landweber January 20, 2007 at 9:36 am

Mr. M3 got a Prius?!?!! I better get out my ice skates because hell is freezing over.

We got a new Subaru Outback. Not a hybrid, but MUCH better gas mileage than the A6 (12-17mpg). It is only a 4-cylinder, but we got a manual (can you picture Greg driving a stick?!), so it has some pick up and go. We needed a safe family car that we could drag our two 90 lb. pitbulls around in as well as the little ‘un that will be joining us in less than two months. We are moving back east this summer and Greg is going to get a hybrid Camry for his commuter car. I can’t wait! Never thought that I would let mileage and safety be my two biggest thoughts over style and power, but maybe hell has frozen over already…

How’s the d.o.t.?

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Ed January 20, 2007 at 9:45 am

Haha. Well, remember that I still have a 911 to help the planet warm up. But so far I only drive it once a week.

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The Curt January 25, 2007 at 5:55 pm

Only nerds get hybrids. Nerd.
And supernerds have two. You have one to go.

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