Over the weekend I was invited to see an amazing house that was completely off-the grid, self-sustaining, and incredibly eco-friendly. Christian Milaster designed and built the house from scratch and says that he only pays about $100 a year in utilities. He called the house — Project Lichtnstein (Light and Stone in German). The entire house is heated by both the natural sunlight and the radiant heat generated from the unique stone fireplace. It was truly an amazing piece of engineering and architecture that allows the house to be so energy efficient. Christian is pioneering a new field of engineering. I call him a “green” engineer and I truly believe that this is a field of study that will be in high demand in the not-so-distant future. If you’re more interested, read about Project Lichtnstein and subscribe to his blog.
Wired Magazine online has reported that Volkswagon has finally been able to get approval for their impressive 60 MPG VW Jetta Diesel automobile to come state-side. My take on it is, why don’t other car manufacturers step up to the green challenge that Toyota, Honda, and now Volkswagon have brought. For now, I’ll be using my Yamaha Vino scooter (70 MPG) a lot more when Spring and Summer weather starts to kick in. I am still very surprised that people in Minnesota still drive their SUVs and trucks a lot. When $4 a gallon hits, many people will start to re-evaluate their transportation options, for sure. Read more at Wired.
We finally did it. We decided to NOT get a Toyota Prius 06, and opted for a much cheaper Toyota Corolla 06. In the end, I think we made the right decision. Based on gas savings, the Corolla gets 30 mpg city / 38 mpg highway. The Prius supposedly gives you 60 mpg city / 51 mpg highway. However, the Prius costs about $10,000 more than the Corolla. To breakeven with that difference, it would take about 20 years of gas savings on the Prius to realize the extra $10,000 spent. This assessment was based on the CNET Hybrid Car Fuel Cost Saving Calculator.