For most of us, one of our biggest investments is our home. As such, we often want to improve it, making it the best it can be with the hope of seeing a significant return when we sell.
One of the big buzzwords in the homeownership world right now is sustainability. People are becoming more aware of how their lifestyles affect the environment and want to do their part to address climate change. One way to do this is to power your home with 100% renewable energy. But how can you do this without breaking the bank? Is it a worthwhile investment?
What Is Renewable Energy?
First, a definition is in order. Simply put, renewable energy is electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, sunlight, biogas, and tidal energy. Energy from these sources is limitless and clean and it does not add pollution to the atmosphere. Non-renewable energy sources like coal and natural gas have environmental costs, such as emissions into our air and water.
Is It Worth The Cost?
One question many people have is whether or not switching to renewable energy will save them money down the road. I recently had a financial planning client asking about this exact topic. They wanted to do their part to address climate change by powering their home with 100% renewable energy and asked if they could afford a large solar array on the roof of their home.
The problem was that a solar array big enough to completely power their home was going to cost almost $20,000. When we crunched the numbers, we realized it might take about ten years for them to recoup the upfront costs. Instead of the high initial investment of a solar array, I suggested another solution that would upgrade their home to 100% renewable energy sources for less than $100 extra per year. At that price, my client was intrigued. Are you?
The Power of Wind
Currently, fossil fuels make up 81.5% of U.S. energy production and about 40% of total US energy consumption is from the residential and commercial sectors. (1) However, renewable energy production was at record highs in 2016. From a local perspective, Austin Energy generates about 30% of its energy from wind, solar, and biomass. (2)
Wind power is a net zero energy source, meaning it has zero fuel cost, produces zero emissions, and requires zero water use for production. If you live in Austin, you have the opportunity to take advantage of the GreenChoice program, which allows you to support renewable energy by ensuring Austin Energy purchases Texas wind energy to match 100% of your usage instead of energy produced with fossil fuels. (3) When you subscribe to GreenChoice, you make a lasting contribution to Austin's quality of life and take a leadership role in moving Austin toward its community goal of 55% renewable energy by 2025 and 100% by 2050.
Subscribing to GreenChoice means that Austin Energy can purchase wind energy to meet your needs instead of electricity produced from natural gas or coal-fired power plants. Relying less on fossil fuel combustion for energy means less air pollution and less water wasted in drought-prone Texas. Your purchase of GreenChoice energy supports the growth of the renewable energy industry in Texas, which creates new jobs in the state and produces new revenues for school districts.
In 2016, Austin Energy GreenChoice customers invested in more than 719 million kWh of renewable energy. This translates into reduced carbon emissions equivalent to the impact of more than 11 million trees. If that isn’t enough to entice you to make this change, the average Austin residential customer can switch to wind energy for about an additional $6.70 per month with no contract, no subscription fees, and no penalty for unsubscribing. Additionally, new and existing Archer Investment Management clients who switch to Austin's GreenChoice program before the end of 2017 will receive a one-time $100 discount off our fees.
Is Renewable Energy Right For You?
As with any financial decision you make, it’s important to do your research and talk to experts in order to make an educated decision. At Archer Investment Management, we ascribe to a disciplined, unemotional, and highly diversified investment approach, favoring objective and time-tested advice to “trendy” stocks. If you want to invest into companies that further the social missions that you value, reach out to us for a complimentary portfolio review. Click here to schedule a phone call.
Richard Archer is a financial advisor and the President of Archer Investment Management with more than eighteen years of industry experience. Largely working with successful individuals and couples, he specializes in providing comprehensive investment guidance and personalized care and attention to each client. Along with holding a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a MBA, he is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificant and a Chartered Financial Analyst®. He combines his advanced industry education and knowledge with his genuine care for people to provide clients with an exceptional experience. To learn more about Richard, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.archerim.com.