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Old 12-30-17, 12:34 AM   #38
Helper EcoRenovator
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: New Mexico/Texas
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Default A new house!

It's been awhile, but here's a little update. We sold our starter house to a friend, no realtor involved, and moved to a bigger, new house that's a bit closer to work. I wanted to get even closer but prices within the city of Austin get crazy.

How does it look? ~2000 sq. ft. and a joy to come home to every day. (link in case the image doesn't show)

It has a HERS score of 70, which I understand to be good but not great. Can anybody put that HERS score in more perspective? Not many ecomods yet except some easy things: turn down the thermostat, drapes, and efficient appliances.

I do miss the old house and the days of renting out a room. We had practically zero housing costs but the 1.5h commute was a killer.

We've saved a lot of money in the past couple years. Soon I will stop worrying about saving so much and focus on some fun things, like solar for the house. A Google Nest will be installed soon, too.

A development called "Whisper Valley" is opening nearby, and claims to be one of the first zero-energy capable, large developments on Earth. At first I was sad we missed out on it, but I realized that an equivalent Whisper Valley home costs about $40k more. I'm happy to take the home I have and put that $40k towards improvements here. The Whisper Valley commute also would have been more difficult.
Whisper Valley, Austins first EcoSmart, ZeroEnergy Community

Long term, we would like to build something like an earthship on a larger plot.

Some other lifestyle changes are helping us out: eating less meat and more staples, and recently switched my wife to Republic Wireless instead of Verizon. Her bill dropped from $88/mo to $35/mo! I'm also experimenting with a 10k+ mile oil change on my car. We're still spending about $600/mo on food and a ridiculous figure on travel... I would like to cut both of those figures.

The Nissan Leaf finally required a bit of maintenance. Its lead-acid aux battery died on a cold winter day. $120/3 years of driving... Not bad. Actually, my Chevy Cruze has been even better, with zero issues in 4 years.
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