Location, location, location!
There is a saying in real estate that the three keys to a house is "location, location and location".
While this may originally been focused on the issue of home value it is also very important when it comes to energy use.
In our case we expect to drive many thousands of miles less each year simply because we are moving closer to where we work, events that we frequent, family and other trips that we make.
Since we want to provide as much energy as we use each year for both the house and our transportation, this makes it much easier.
Kate will be driving approximately 5,500 miles less each year just considering work. She is cutting 14.5 miles of her route to work, each way. Or about 29 miles a day, 116 miles per week, which comes out to about 5,580 miles per year.
Trips to visit family, friends, meetings and other events should save us, as a couple, another 2,500 miles annually (this is considering a few of our trips will now be longer). \
So as a couple, we will be driving about 8,000 fewer miles by moving 15 miles closer to the bulk of our daily travel destinations. If we were driving gasoline cars that would be about 375 gallons of gas or a bit over $1000/year in gasoline savings alone (plus wear and tear on the vehicles).
Since we are driving electric, it translates to about 2700 fewer kWh of power used, which means we don't need as many solar panels to become Net-Zero. In our case we are being conservative and planning on 2000 fewer kWh to make sure we reach Net-Zero.
Here is the really fun part...
How much would you like more time in your day?
As a very wise friend of mine recently noted, this saves time as well!
If you drive an average speed of 40mph over that 8,000 miles, that means you are saving yourself 200 hours of time.
That is 4 weeks of full time 40 hours/week work!
Split up, that gives you almost 4 more hours each week to spend with your friends or family, read a book, pursue a hobby or just relax.
In conclusion, we have found many benefits to moving closer to to metropolitan center. When we started this project, this was not one of my bigger considerations. Little did I know how much easier it would be to reach Net-Zero transportation as we move closer to work and play. The benefit of time was also much more than I had originally figured on, which was a very happy surprise!
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Mark really doesn't like to talk about himself, the house is much more interesting.