Friday, March 4, 2011: Updated 1/30/2016 (modernized the topic)

Being Environmentally Conscious Makes Financial Sense.

I'm a moderate environmentally conscious guy. I'm all for saving the environment but those actions must also makes sense. It is my goal to reduce my family's carbon footprint without anyone noticing that something changed. While we are at it, why not choose actions that will also save money and even make money over time? 

Example #1: Solar Panels
My solar panels paid for themselves in 4.2 years yet they are guaranteed to last over 25 years. At the end of their life, they will have earned me over $54,000 in electrical savings. Not bad for an initial $22,000 investment ($13,000 out of pocket after tax credits). That works out to $3.50/day in increased income. Wow, that's like receiving a free box of Graham Crackers every day for the next 25 years.

Example #2: New Electric Car vs. Used Combustion Engine Car
In 2011, I was driving a '92 Honda Accord that I bought eight years prior for $2800.  During that time, I've spent about $5000 in replacement parts and 100's of hours in maintenance and repairs and $5200 in gasoline. Conservatively estimating my intermediate skilled mechanic labor costs at $25/hr adds another $3000. 

All together, that car cost me $16,000. That's $6000 more than the price of a used Nissan Leaf.

Increased safety features, luxury and convenience is also worth something in itself. 

Update 5/2011: 

A few people have commented that the Nissan Leaf in the above picture is smiling.  Yes.  That is true.  Know why?  Because it never has to pay for or use gasoline, ever.  Imagine how happy you would be if you didn't have to buy gas.