Last year, Jeff and Rachel Hohensee’s winter energy bill was $500.
This year, they don’t even have an energy bill. Jeff, a consultant on sustainable-living topics at Natural Capitalism Solutions, was feeling guilty about his energy-wasting home, so he and his wife set out on a two-year project that transformed it into a net-zero home–meaning it generates more energy than it uses.
They started with easy fixes like switching to CFL bulbs and low-flow showerheads, and getting an energy audit to see where air was leaking from their home. They used caulk and insulation foam to fill the leaky areas.
Eventually, they hired insulators to add materials to the home’s walls. Jeff says they took the process to a higher level by hiring someone from Standard Renewable Energy to follow the insulators with an infrared gun. The infrared photos would show areas where the initial insulation was too sparse, and more was added. Read more
Here’s a Friday story for you:
Xcel applied to the Public Utilities Commission to raise rates and, to justify a rate hike, included some questionable financial items, according to the Denver Post:
Company-provided noshes at Xcel Energy — coffee, tea, bottled water, bagels and doughnuts — came to about $173,000 last year.
The utility’s Colorado unit included that sum, along with $307,000 for employee-recognition awards and parties, in its application to the state Public Utilities Commission for a $182 million rate increase.
Not so fast, said PUC officials. The costs … “are not appropriate to charge ratepayers and should be absorbed by PSCo’s shareholders.”
Bad news is, the doughnuts didn’t account for much of the total costs that Xcel sent over for a rate hike, so you’re still getting it. Get the whole Xcel donut rate hike story at the Post. Or you can spend your Friday speculating as to how much of the proposed (and forsaken) solar rate increase would have been donut-related.
More fun with utilities on BigGreenBoulder:
|Utility exec: Too many hybrids could blow up the grid!||Xcel finishes building Boulder’s smart grid|