Rather Square: Switching to green energy

May 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

Last week, we introduced Rather Square, a blog written by Laura Kesselring and John Christenson —  an Oak Park husband and wife. This week, we’ve brought you a post from the blog about making a home more energy efficient, how to switch to green energy, and how this family helped make their historic home from the 1920s more green. Here’s their story and tips:

We just enrolled in our village’s electrical aggregation program, and we chose the all-green energy option.

What does “green energy” mean anyway? According to the provider selected by our village board:

“We supply our residential customers in select electric distribution company service areas with renewable wind energy. This renewable wind power is generated by wind turbines, located on wind farms within specific control areas.” (read more here)

  • Switching to green energy will actually save us money in the end. The rates offered by the aggregation program (for all options) are lower than what we are currently paying for electricity. Even though we chose the most sustainable aggregation option (which will cost a bit more per kilowatt hour than the base aggregation option), we will still be paying less than what our current provider charges.
  • More importantly, this switch fits in with our overall plan to increase the efficiency of the energy we use for our home. In the past year, we’ve blogged about several things we’ve already done to help our old house function better in the modern world. For example, we installed a new smart thermostat (the Ecobee Smart Si).
  • We replaced our 25-year-old furnace and air conditioner with new models (this became an urgent necessity when the old furnace died on us one cold night last winter):
  • We’ve started gradually trading out our older household appliances with new energy-efficient ones, like our refrigerator and dishwasher:
  • And last summer, John caulked cracks in our exterior stucco.

Even though energy efficiency can pay off in the long run with lower utility bills, it can also cost a significant amount of cash upfront to set things up (especially in an old house like ours). So we’ve got more updates we plan to make in the future once our budget allows, such as rerouting some ductwork to under-served rooms in the house for more even heating and cooling distribution, putting ceiling fans in the toddler’s bedroom and the spare bedroom, and insulating our exterior walls and attic.

For now, it will be interesting to see if we notice any change – good or bad – in our electric bill going forward.

What kind of energy options are available in your area? Do you have options at all? Or is your city/town served by a single provider and/or program?

[To read more and see the photos that go along with these home rennovation tips, visit Rather Square.

Don’t forget to check back next Friday for more tips from our local bloggers. 

Comments are closed.