Green Resolutions That Pay for Themselves

by Ivory Soap

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Going Green is great, but I wonder how fast the savings in energy costs overtakes the purchase and installation costs?  So, I sat down with my calculator and my favorite website and worked it out how long it would take for changes made today, NEW YEARS 2010, to start paying for themselves.  (Computed for a family of 5 in a little house like mine.)

1.  New sink aerators can pay for themselves by March 1.

2.  Air drying laundry (buying a drying rack and new line) pays for itself by Spring break.

3.  New low-flow shower heads pay for themselves before Independence day.

4.  By Christmas

  • programmable thermostat
  • insulating the pipes
  • insulating the hot water heater
  • changing all outdoor lights to CFLs

5.  Shortly after New Years 2011, changing all your indoor lights to CFLs will pay for themselves.

Things that pay for themselves before New Years 2013:

  • replacing a DEAD fridge with an Energy Star efficiency version.
  • replacing a DEAD commode with a dual flush model.
  • replacing a working car with a hybrid.

Things that would pay for themselves before I hit menopause (2015-2020):

  • Solar H2O heater
  • Energy Star H2O heater
  • replacing working toilets with dual flush
  • planting shade trees

Things that pay before I get run over by a flying car (2030-2040):

  • replacing a working air conditioner with an Energy Star
  • tankless water heater
  • replacing a working fridge with an Energy Star
  • replacing a working dishwasher with an Energy Star
  • replacing a DEAD washer with an HE
  • replacing a DEAD chest freezer with an Energy Star

Things that will pay about the time I’m arguing with my kids about nursing homes (2050-2060)

  • installing a whole house fan
  • replacing a working washer with an HE

Things that will pay for themselves when Williard Scott’s robot is announcing me 104 years young! (2080)

  • replacing a working chest freezer with an Energy Star
  • installing skylights
  • gray water system
  • solar panels

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Kat January 1, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Wow. I wish the media would run with this. I’m re-thinking some of our goals for the new year now–especially the solar panels for whole-house electricity. Maybe I should get a hybird instead?!
I guess what isn’t included in this breakdown is future costs of not doing something. For instance, solar panels may not benefit my own pocket before Willard Scott is a holograph, but will they benefit the environment and result in lower clean-up costs for my offspring?
We’ve already done everything through item 4. It’s a real struggle to figure out where to go next, but this breakdown–and that website– will be playing a role in our sleuthing.

Melissa January 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Very cool! Thanks for posting this 🙂

Pheba January 1, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Very Cool Thanks! – Am I the only one that noticed she is insulating the “hot” water heater.

alice January 1, 2010 at 11:15 pm

I am sure my parents think their solar panels will pay for themselves much more quickly. I am not sure what the differences would be, one of the interesting and immediate payoffs for them has been that they have become even more careful about the amount of electricity that they use and their overall usage has gone down. I know they thought about their eventual payoff day, but they also felt that they could afford to be a leader and wanted to invest in the process and to encourage greater improvements in solar energy. Their neighbours are now getting solar panels and already 2 years later the new panels are more efficient/effective.

busywithkids January 2, 2010 at 11:02 am

I tried the link to your favorite website, and it didn’t work. Could you re-post that so I can try it myself? We added an attic fan to our house two summers ago (or three?) and it significantly helps keep our house cooler by about 10 degrees (which is enough that we forego the AC most the summer, along with closing curtains, etc). So…I don’t think it would take that long to re-coup the cost, considering it cost us less than $150 for the fan, and hubby installed it himself. hmmm….

Kat January 2, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I believe the site she was talking about
Is that right, Ivory Soap?

Mrs. Mac January 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm

(you forgot to mention)
replacing a dead (new piece of junk) HE washer (that replaced a DEAD washer) with a new ‘old’ push/pull/water/energy hog washer

replacing a new over the range microwave with a more expensive exhaust fan that won’t melt or get a fried electric panel

replacing a two year old energy star rated (piece of junk from Korea) LE dishwasher when the pump goes out in six more months … with nice new storage shelves and a pretty cafe curtain on a rod

oh, and replacing all of the crappy cfl bulbs that need a hazmat suite to clean up when they accidentally break from a lamp tipping over from opening windows to let in fresh air, while not running the a/c

We’ve learned our lessons well at our home. Turn off the lights when not in use, take a short shower, only wash full loads of clothes, use a clothesline in the summer, flush the toilets before company arrives;), power down electronics, … and don’t spend money replacing a perfectly good working piece of machinery with a poorly made energy efficient model.

Viki January 6, 2010 at 7:28 am

Cudos to Mrs. Mac, I feel the same way. Those CFLs don’t last as long as the old bulbs and it just seems crazy to me that the govt would push us to use toxic filled light bulbs that cost way more. I think this green energy movement has some merit by making everyone more aware of their energy usage. Really just using common sense by turning down the thermostat and turning off lights goes a long way. As for insulating the hot water heater that is a good way to save energy because the hot water heater can cost upwards of 14% of your monthly power bill. Adding a timer or on/off switch would be another way to save on the hot water bill.

Kika January 8, 2010 at 7:36 pm

I wonder if readers could suggest brands or dual-flush toilets they’re using and believe are reliable and worth the money.

Kika January 8, 2010 at 7:37 pm

I meant “brands OF dual-flush toilets”

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