“My home looks much like the typical American home,” said Greenfield. But “it uses about 90% less electricity than the average household in the surrounding area. I would never know I was living off the grid if it weren't for the wind turbine spinning behind my house.”
Living on-grid — Oakland, CA
Off-grid isn’t for everyone. The first step towards greener living isn’t putting up photovoltaic panels, it’s changing personal behaviors.
Dan Antonioli knows this well. Twelve years ago he founded his two-house 611 EcoVillage, an on-grid household in Oakland, CA that embraces green behaviors suited to its centralized urban environment: public and human-powered transportation, hang drying, farmers’ markets and shared space.
“Energy can be seen not just from kilowatt hours and therms, it also has to be seen in all of the other ways it’s consumed. Because we share, we save.”
Antonioli, who works in the field of energy upgrading old buildings, is also renovating the rooms in the 100-year-old buildings, one at a time.
“You insulate, you tighten the building envelope, you seal the ducts and the heating system — you do these simple things, and lo and behold, all of a sudden, people are feeling comfortable in their homes, and they’re spending less money on their energy bills.”
(*Name has been changed to maintain anonymity).