By Dedra Cordle
Ten years ago, Matt and Christy Goodman never would have believed it if someone told them that someday in the future, their home would be featured in a state-wide tour that highlights green technologies. In fact, they might never have believed the words ‘going green’ was in their future vocabulary.
“We weren’t too into that stuff,” admitted Christy Goodman.
But what really got them started on their path to a greener lifestyle was the constant shaming from their daughter Jennifer.
“She would come home from school talking about how we have to save the planet and how we couldn’t throw anything away,” said Christy with a laugh. “It got to the point where she would pick up something we had thrown in the trash and tell us that it was recyclable.”
Eventually, the beleaguered parents got the message and started paying more attention to items that could be recycled and ways they could cut down on their carbon footprint.
They didn’t even backslide as their children got older and stopped shaming them, deciding – on their own recognizance – to go with double paned windows, a tankless water heater and a hybrid furnace during home improvement projects.
They continued down their green path even when their children moved out.
As a self-described ‘tech-curious’ person, Matt started researching solar energy and wondered if it may be a good fit for their home. Christy had reservations.
“I was mainly concerned about the cost,” she said. “I thought there was no way we could afford it.”
She was also hesitant about the solar panels on their home because she worried they might be aesthetically unappealing.
“I had this vision in my head that they would be these big protruding things just hanging off my roof,” she said. “I’m not actually sure where that vision came from, but it was all I could see.”
So they put the prospect of solar panels aside to work on other projects such as making their backyard friendly to their dog Beans.
In February, the Goodman’s went to the Home and Garden show to look for backyard design ideas when a booth for Ecohouse Solar grabbed Matt’s attention.
“I saw him walking over there and just rolled my eyes,” said Christy.
Feeling a sense of inevitability, Christy listened as Matt and Nick Welch discussed how solar panels work, how much they cost, if their home had good solar panel conditions and whether it would be a wise investment.
Matt was sold, Christy not so much.
“I’m glassy-eyed and curious,” said Matt. “Christy is much more pragmatic.”
Over the next few months, the Goodman’s started seriously talking about installing solar panels and in the early summer, Christy was finally sold on the idea.
“I’m one of those people who keep all of their records so I went through all the old electricity bills, looked at the kilowatt usage and compared (it to solar projections),” she said.
It also helped that they received tax incentives from the state and federal government for using green technologies.
In June, Ecohouse Solar started installing 20 panels. Three days later, their solar system was up and active.
“When the project was finished, the value of our home went up on day one,” said Christy. “That was a good motivator for me.”
In the three months since having the solar panels installed, the Goodman’s have seen a significant decrease in their electric bills.
“Before, we were paying an average of $80 a month,” said Christy.
Now, they have not had to make a payment.
“For the past three months, our electric bills have been $0,” said Matt.
However, they do expect that to change with winter coming. They predict with an increase in energy usage, it will cost them around $11 a month instead.
The Goodman’s said they are very happy with their decision to install solar panels at their home and encouraged other homeowners to research the green technology as well.
“I encourage them to do if it they feel they can afford it,” said Christy.
She said it also makes her happier knowing her family is doing something good for the planet.
“It does make me feel better and it makes me proud that we’re trying to help,” she said.
Now that the solar panels are all in place, Matt has his sights set on an electric car. Christy is only slightly hesitant about this one, largely because she has that feeling of inevitability.
“I would be shocked if it doesn’t happen in five years,” she said.