Well…it’s not really a straight economic question, of course, but from the perspective of your humble commentator, I’d have to give that a resounding “yes”…or if it’s resounding, I suppose that would be “yes…yes…yess…yesss…yessssss

Why such resounding confidence (confidence…confidennnccceee)?

Well, take a look at our project at 173 Downey Street.

When we rehabbed this 1902 Colonial Revival Cottage, we almost doubled the livable square footage, but we also fully insulated the house, changed all the windows and French doors to use insulated glass, added 2kW of solar panels on the roof and changed the heating system to an ultra-efficient multi-zoned lectric heat pump.

The net effect on energy costs?  Check it out.

Our new Smart Meter was set by PGE in late Sept 2009 to tie our solar panels into the grid and enable the house to shift over to time-of-use billing, giving us lower prices when we pull power from the grid at night and paying us higher prices when we ship energy back to the grid.

Buy Low, Sell High.  The investment ideal!

173 Downey Pre-Rehab

Uninsulated     1710 sq. ft.      Winter PG&E bill $300+/mo

173 Downey Post-Rehab

Insulated        3141 sq. ft.      Winter PG&E bill  ~$100/mo
(note that the 2/3 drop was achieved with just 2kW of panels even though we wired for 4kW – with the full 4kW, the monthly bill would have been around $15/mo)

Note that $12 of new bill is the minimum gas charge, whether any gas is used or not.

Pretty frakkin’ awesome, my friends…
(just a little BSG slang for you geeks out there)

Seeing this chart online at pge.com is pretty rewarding (note that Solar not active for 95% of Sept and weather was mild then):

Since the house has been for sale, we’ve kept the heat on for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week – all winter long.  Even so, the electric-based heat demand never exceeded our solar-generation capacity…in an El Niño year with way above-average rainfall!

This is what the eco in eco+historical is all about.