John Forbes: The year before last (2007) Xcel (Energy) had been sending out these mailers with your bill and they were talking about their solar credit program, and I have been really interested in all things solar. I tell people that I had in the 8th grade in 1958 I was standing up in front of the class giving them my science presentation and telling them I wanted to be a solarologist.
My science fair project I had a big solar cooker made out of card board and tin foil. The next year I did one with corala algae and composting that in to methane and generating electricity from that, so I was really interested into it a long long time ago.
The prices were prohibitive and the products really were not available anyway. So I say this an I was really intrigued and the Cary Hayes and REC Solar showed up at Costco. My wife had seen him and and she said he still might be there and I got home from work and Costco was open a little later. And she took me down there and she met him. OK, I gotta do it.
And from then it was September of 2007 and I thought I would just put in my application to the Architectural Committee (Rock Creek HOA) because I had to do that for the yard and the deck and you are supposed get a 45 day turn around. Well when I didn’t get it by October – I went to inquire, I was told you can show up at the next meeting by that time – I check and gave them a little more time back in December or November I think they were skipping December and going in to January so I had to wait even longer. So I got involved, so then I found out that they were not doing anything on my application at all.
They said they couldn’t make a decision because they didn’t have any guidance. They didn’t have any rules drafted and that really made me angry. I wanted them to either up or down yes or no – because if they said not I was going to go off and sue them because under state law (Colorado Solar Access Law) there is no question I would get what I wanted – but I couldn’t sue them (the HOA) or I could not get an injunction until they actually made a decision. Which was driving me crazy!
So finally I talked to my friend Rich and told him we have to do something to make them make a decision. They insisted on drafting this one paragraph about it can’t be more than 4 inches off the roof and then they made the claim that these panels should match your roof color. So I was told they come in gray and brown and red – which is not true! I told them that is a restriction that can not be meet and you will just have to take that out, and I demanded to know what their source of information was – so they gave me a local solar contractor Rich did and he said there is not such thing as red panels!
So I want back and politely inferred that they misunderstood. So they took it out and finally they had the guidance. They were still dragging their feet. Each iteration was another month and another month and finally Rich came in a brought case law in and pressed. And hinted that they will get sued if they don’t make a decision. A week and a half later I got my decision that approved it.
I called up REC Solar and all through this process Cary Hayes was giving me support and technical information he got me and stuff. They came out (REC Solar) got the survey had their plans ready and we thought oh this is going to go through really quickly and went down to the city (Town of Superior) – well the city now…they said the electrical plan we just can’t accept that you have got to have a wet stamp, another electrical has to stamp it like a notary. That would be like getting a wet stamp to wire up your stereo – it was a delaying tacit. Further behind and cost more money because you had to pay the guy.
Eventually it was put in – the whole thing took more than a year. It could have been done in like two months. And what startled me was the people on the Architectural Committee knew nothing about solar and you would think here in Boulder County the stuff has been out there since – well I learned about it in 1958!
So asking questions like what color are the panels – what planet are you on?
So I found that whole thing kind of depressing – I was hoping that other people it would make it easier.
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Emeril, Guy Fiottie, and plenty of other head chefs have nice houses. The other day I was wondering what did they do to not only make it a luxury but also their houses are green and Energy saving. Their home appliancesran on a lower percentage cost then a normal house hold. That got me looking on how to reduce home energycosts. I stumble upon a site that looked promising. It was called Microsoft-hohm.com. They teach simple but effective ways of reducing energy costs. They have 5 categories to save.
The first category is appliances. Cleaning dryer lint will not only improve efficiency but take away the possibility of a house fire. If you can, stringing clothes on a line outside will improve costs. Setting your computer to go into a sleep mode when not in use will help costs. Putting your copier to a low power mode, when not in use. Use auto-dry or moisture sensor when drying clothes with your dryer.
Walls window and doors is the second. Insulation in your attic increases r-values. Checking your chalking or weather stripping, for any needs of repair, will help save. Increasing insulation to a R-19, R-30 or R38 will save.
House exterior will save also. When re-roofing use rigid sheathing insulation. When replacing siding add external sheathing beneath the siding. Energy-star roofing material with solar reflection will save in cooling costs. Insulating the perimeter slab, of your house saves energy costs.
The fourth is heating and cooling. Adjusting the temperature of your home, by 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, before you go to sleep or whenever you leave your home. Replacing your central air conditioner, with an Energy Star-labeled conditioner with a SEER equal to 14, 15, 16, or 17, will save money.
The 5th but still important is lighting. Instead of incandescence bulbs use a more efficient bulb. When leavening the house or a room make sure to cut out the lights to save energy.
Those 5 sets of things reduced my energy cost and those of the head chefs by a big percentage. They can save you money also.