In spite of my tone in this blog, my wife and I took this decision seriously and here's how we came to it.
1. Assume we're replacing our furnace and air conditioner
That's $7,000 of assumed cost right there. Our furnace was mid-efficiency (by today's standards low-efficiency) natural gas. Our air conditioner is a piece of junk and we've never used it. With a baby on the way, it's a good plan to have one for emergencies. And resale of a home is quite difficult with no summer cooling.
2. Assume we'll get rebates
- $3,500 from the Ontario Provincial Government,
- $3,500 from the Canadian Federal Government, and
- $800 from the Ontario Power Authority
3. Assume we save $1,500 per year
- No natural gas bill (no delivery charges, debt reduction, or cost per cubic meter).
- Increase in hydro usage will only occur in low electricity demand months (electricity demand is always highest in the summer months as cooling systems operate)
Items 1 to 3 puts our pay-back period at about 5-7 years.
4. Assume there are no environmentally friendly investment mechanisms that make money
We wanted to save some of our money in "ethical" or "green" investments. My (and a few other) financial planners basically told us "don't bother".
The problem it seems is "green funds" are managed by people whose primary motives are not to make you money but to invest in green technology and historical performance (as short as it has been) is poor. Like losing money poor.
And companies who qualify as "green" are often run by people whose primary motives are not to increase shareholder value but to be the best green company they can be. Not a bad thing, just not money making for investors.
So, we decided if we're going to invest, we'll do it on our terms. Our veggie fueled car, our heat pump, super insulating the house, etc.
This blog doesn't just chronicle our "greeny" whims. These are our green investments and we treat each decision as such.