Rebecca D. Thomas

A Values-Driven, Sustainable Lifestyle Blog, seeking innovative and forward-thinking ideas in business, travel, food, fashion, and beyond!

Work in Progress: My Ecological Footprint

Hello, friends! How are you? Is it Springtime, yet?! I hope that February has been good to you, and that each challenge you face becomes an opportunity for personal and professional growth.
 As I mentioned in my 1.15.18 post, for the next couple of months, I’m going to use this blog space to share snippets of my homework assignments. This semester, I am studying the Food, Energy, and Water Nexus with T.H. Culhane, PhD at the University of South Florida, Patel College of Global Sustainability.
Have you ever calculated your ecological footprint? I’m imagining not very many hands are going up­čśë I certainly had not, until today! The Global Footprint Network asks questions like, Do you carpool to work? and, How much meat do you consume? It then generates a “footprint profile”, based on your answers.
Challenges for me are to consider my amount of driving time, compared to taking public transit, or carpooling. And, with 70-80% of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050, as a city-dweller, I was challenged to consider alternative energy sources.
Which brings me to my current experience with solar energy. Our home is powered by the City of Tallahassee Solar Program The city energy hub pulls from different energy sources. Before the switch, we paid approximately 10 cents per kilowatt hour for natural gas, with 3.5 cents going to the actual gas, and the rest for overhead expenses. As a commodity, this price is always fluctuating. We now purchase 100% of our energy from solar, and it costs five cents per kilowatt, a slight increase from the 3.5 cents natural gas kilowatt, with a total of 15 cents per kilowatt. As mentioned, natural gas prices can fluctuate, but this new solar choice is fixed-price for the next 20 years, guaranteed. So, the price is slightly higher, and it may decrease, but it is guaranteed not to increase. We use approximately 1000 kilowatt hours per month.
When we signed up, we were told by the city that the solar price was five cents per kilowatt hour. They did not mention anything about the overhead (panel maintenance, etc.) costs. The items on our bill include water, garbage pickup, and emergency services, but the overhead energy amount is not itemized on our bill. So, we thought we were getting a good deal, 5 cents versus 10 cents for natural gas! Not so, but we like supporting solar energy for a slightly higher, but fixed, cost.
What are your experiences with alternative energy sources? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below. Thank you for reading, and please scroll down for Rebecca’s Heroes, just for the little ones!
Working full-time, schooling part-time, and some fun-time in between!

Such a sweet doggie!

Two worlds??

I love my car, but we do have nice city buses where I live,

Rebecca’s Heroes
You already know from my 12.30.17 post that I’m a Phannatiq phan! Have you checked their baby clothes? They are made from leftover fabric scraps! REDU makes it all happen. They are well-known in the field of slow fashion, social economy and green entrepreneurship. Thanks for being my hero, REDU!


  1. Just to clarify, we learned about the built-in overhead costs, after we switched to solar energy. Had no idea that was a thing, hidden in our utility bill!

  2. Very nice post. Solar energy makes alot of sense/cents ha ha in the sunshine state. I hope it works out for you in the long run. Hope you have sunny days ahead!

    1. Thank you for reading! ­čśŐ Yes, I believe it is a good long-term investment,

  3. Merhaba bizim ├╝lkemizde de r├╝zgar enerjisinden elektrik enerjisi sa─člayan r├╝zgar t├╝rbini yayg─▒nla┼čmaktad─▒r.G├╝r├╝lt├╝ kirlili─či ve ku┼č ├Âl├╝mlerinin olmas─▒ olumsuz taraflar─▒ olarak s├Âyleniyor.

    1. Merhaba, harika yorumlar─▒ i├žin ├žok te┼čekk├╝rler! Ah, yes, I believe the bird death toll due to wind turbines is high in the state of Vermont. I don’t know of any negative side-effects to solar, in terms of harming the environment.

  4. It sounds really interesting, great post dear

  5. I have always bypassed the whole overhead thing by being off grid on battery power. I wonder if it would be better in your case to stay hooked up to a "cheaper" municipal plan but then install your own solar with battery back up and live off grid without telling them. You still pay the hookup fees they want and the reduced overhead of gas, but you don't pay for energy use (to keep them off your trail you might use a few kilowatts a month just for things like fridge). This is what I did years ago in LA; no one was the wiser.

    1. Hi Dr. Culhane, thank you for commenting!! This definitely gives me something to think about! ­čśŐ Thanks for the tip!