^ Analyzing your monthly energy costs ^ Comparing your energy use to a typical household ^ Looking into your energy consumption ^ Performing energy audits in your home
love moving forward and getting things done because I’m impatient and I want to see some results. I like pounding nails and gluing stuff together (although I don’t like pounding my thumb, or gluing my pants to the workbench). But before you start the fun stuff, you need to do a little research first. Why? Investing in solar energy is expensive, and once it’s in place, you’re stuck with what you’ve got. You can’t put it back into its box and return it to the store, so you need to make sure that your decisions are sound.
It’s much cheaper, marginally, to invest in energy conservation measures for your home before you invest in solar. Furthermore, most people don’t have a good handle on where and how they’re using energy. When you invest in solar power, you’re called on to decide, very specifically, what type of system to install and how much it’s worth in both monetary and labor costs (your labor costs, once the system is in). By studying the details of your own household and how you consume energy, you’ll be well along the way to making wise solar investment decisions.
I use a friend of mine as an example in this chapter. His fictitious name is Bill Toomuch. He and his small family live on a 5-acre ranch, all electric, in a 2,700-square-foot house. There’s an above-ground swimming pool and a hot tub. Water is supplied by a well. Analyzing Bill Toomuch demonstrates how to go about systematically analyzing your own situation. (Plus, it’s fun to spy on other people and get into their private details.)