Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Living green in California

Robin’s birthday is this weekend, and with the in-laws in town, it means we have babysitters. We’re going to do a quick trip up to Napa (it’s just an hour from our house) for a birthday dinner, a night sans kids, and a visit to a few wineries. Can’t wait.

The hotel is what is most intriguing: we’ll be staying at the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel, the first “green” hotel built in the state of California (it opened last month). Expedia had a $70/night sale which seemed way too good to pass up… and after reading about the hotel, I’m pretty excited to see it. I’ll report back after we make the trip.

Speaking of being green, I can’t remember if I mentioned that our house in California has solar panels. The builder (Lennar Homes) has made a big commitment to solar power in California, and our house is generating about 20% of its own electricity every day (news flash: it tends to be sunny here). On days that we actually generate a surplus of energy, it’s sold back into the grid at a dollar-for-dollar credit. The panels are also wired into the home’s network, which gives me real-time monitoring over the Internet of our home’s energy consumption (and production), which is helping us identify additional opportunities for conservation.

In other news, Google continues to be a leader in this space, which is gratifying. I drove one of our plug-in hybrid electric vehicles yesterday for the first time. I love that Google makes it so efficient to be responsible on this stuff: the shuttle makes my commute productive, which is a beautiful thing. When I’m on campus I have access to the RechargeIT PHEVs if I need them, and our solar panels generate a significant portion of our on-campus consumption.

Kermit was wrong. It is easy being green. (Sorry.)

1 comment:

  1. That is great Rick! I wish our new house was equipped with solar panels. It is a goal of ours to add them. The school I teach at was one of the first to install solar panels in an Illinois initiative to get schools to be more green. I have my students tracking the productivity of our panels on this website.

    Have a great time in Napa and happy birthday Robin!