This interview has not been edited. Thank you to Mr. Green for sharing his story.
Why did you choose to support the Cool Effect Projects?
Before we got to a zero-carbon footprint on the house I wanted to make our family’s entire carbon footprint (including our cars, not just on the house) very visible to our family. So, for Christmas presents in 2016 I bought carbon offsets from Cool Effect to completely offset our carbon footprint in 2016. That year our carbon footprint was 75 tons of carbon dioxide. In 2017 our family’s entire carbon footprint was 21 tons.
Soon I will install additional solar panels on our roof and swap our gas-guzzling cars for electric ones so that then we will have a zero-carbon footprint on both our house and our cars. Then I will have to think of something other than carbon offsets to give our children for Christmas!
What is inspiring to you about the Cool Effect community?
I chose Cool Effect because their carbon offsets are audited by reputable organizations and the offsets are guaranteed to be incremental. A lot of people selling carbon offsets are selling things like planting trees in the rainforest. Trees naturally grow extremely quickly in the rainforest, so planting trees there does not lead to any incremental amount of carbon dioxide being removed from the atmosphere.
Tell us about your efforts to fight climate change.
In 2017 our house used 70% less energy than in 2016 mostly caused by installing solar panels and heat pumps. The heat pumps replaced our air conditioners and now provide all of our cooling and most of our heating. We used the furnace on only about 30 bitterly cold days last winter. So far in 2018, our energy use is down a further 30% mostly caused by installing extra insulation and triple-glazed windows. We are on track to get to a year-round zero-carbon footprint in 2018.
We are saving about $11,000 a year in electricity and heating fuel bills.
We have invested about $75,000 (after subsidies and tax credits) in “going zero”. Our investments will pay for themselves in under seven years. Our annual return on investment is about 15%. That’s 15% after tax as savings are not taxed. To get the same return on taxable income, such as from stock and bond investments, you would need a pre tax return (depending on your tax rate) of 20-30%.
If you are interested in an overview of how we have gone zero and saved money you can visit my web site www.greenzerocarbonhome.com
If you are interested in seeing all the details of the technologies, the financial analyses and the sources of low-interest or zero-interest loans for financing going zero, I have written a book about how to go zero and save money called, Zero Carbon Home, which is available for purchase on the web site.
On the left are our heat pumps that replaced out air-conditioners. © David Green. They heat and cool the house. On the right is an aerial shot of our solar panels on the roof of our house. © Jack Green.