Going Green, Saving Money

Going Green, Saving Money
By: CJ Cassidy

FARMINGTON, Mo. - How would you like to pay less than two bucks on your electric bill?
It's the one thing many of us can count on doing every month, shelling out hundreds of dollars on electric and utility bills.
Now a Farmington, Missouri man says he's figured out a way to cut down on those bills.
Of course that comes with it's own price tag, but he says it's all worth it in the end.
It's actually very simple.  He generates his own energy. He also taps into Mother Earth to save some big bucks.
"My electric bill was a $1.91," Jeffrey Ward said.
He's not just saving a lot of green on his utility bill, he's also going green in a big way.
"I wanted to be as conservative as possible, and use less energy from the Middle East and anywhere else.  I wanted to be totally independent," he said.
Here's how that works.  Solar panels in Ward's backyard help power up his home.
The city then credits him for the energy he doesn't use, and you can actually see his electric meter turning backwards!
"Altogether it came to about $11,000.  Then I also got a 30% federal tax rebate.  A lot of states offer rebates too, but not this one," he said.
Still, at the rates he's getting, Ward figures it'll take him about eight years to break even.
"For the price of a used car, you can pay off your electric bill forever," he said.
Ward doesn't stop there.  He collects rainwater to wash his laundry and dries them on clotheslines outside. 
He also uses the sun to heat his water in the summer, and a wood stove in the winter, and the lighting inside his home is all fluorescent.
"I wanted to do this for about 13 years and the time was finally right," he said.
As Ward saves money, his neighbors deal with a 40% hike in electric rates.
Donna Vandiver says her electric bill added up to about $93 and she's on budget billing.  Now, she's considering going green herself.
"It would do a lot of good for a lot of people, especially elderly people.  Some can't pay their electric bills," she said.
"It's really not complicated at all.  If you can put batteries in a flashlight you can do this," Ward said.
It might be a little more complicated than that, but Jeffrey Ward says you can always research your options online and talk with city leaders in your area to figure out how to cut down your bills.
Next, he plans on putting up a windmill in his yard so he won't have to rely on any outside energy sources at all.