Category Archives: A Parallel Abode

How Marketplace Economics Can Help Build a Greener World


Consumers now have little information about the true ecological impacts of what they buy. But that may be about to change, as new technologies that track supply chains are emerging and companies as diverse as Unilever and Google look to make their products more sustainable.

Here’s a modest proposal: radical transparency, the laying bare of a product’s ecological impacts for all to see.

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Solar City


There was a lot of excitement when Solar City, the largest solar installer in the nation

came to New Mexico. To be honest, Elon Musk the founder of Solar City and Tesla

Electric Cars is my hero. Elon is really creating disruptive technology. And let’s face it

— the old destructive technology like oil and coal, need to be disrupted.

So I gave Solar City a call. The first gentleman was polite and well informed about New

Mexico law and solar credits. He was able to look at my house on Google Earth while we

spoke and it was amazing

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Energy Efficient Appliances

For my birthday my friend Rob from Solar Wise USA gave me a kilowatt meter that can tell me how much energy any appliance uses. (They’re available and they don’t cost much.) The house came with an old side-by-side refrigerator and I was shocked to find that it used more then $20 of electricity a month. My new refrigerator is rated at $7 per month.

The old washer and dryer were falling apart and needed to be replaced anyways. The new washer/dryer is a highly efficient Energy Star rated and should save me $6 or $7 a month. Upgrading

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Switching to LED Lights

The cost of solar equipment has dropped around 70% over the last seven years. Still, even with the dramatic reduction in price, it is still cheaper to reduce the amount of electricity I use. That way, when I install my system a smaller one should be able to serve my needs.

My house has a pitched roof with a few skylights. There is only a limited amount of roof space on which to put the solar electric panels. That’s another reason to make the house as energy efficient as possible. My goal is to keep the solar array to around

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In keeping with the Parallel Strategy I started with the easy stuff. I was quite lucky because the family I bought the house from recently insulated the roof with 14 inches of blown cellulose insulation, but a number of the doors were not weather stripped. The winter heat loss resulting from leaky doors and windows can be greater than no insulation in the roof, but is the easiest and cheapest to fix. Upon further inspection it came down to just two doors because the windows and one door were replaced when the roof was insulated.

The front door was easy

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