Save money, save the planet

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | Daily Republic |  May 2009
Doug and his wife pose with their two electric bicycles in front of their Fairfield, CA home. The bikes have allowed the couple to get rid of one of their cars.Photo by Brad ZweerinkFAIRFIELD – For one Fairfield family going green has been a win-win situation. They are saving money while helping save the environment.After reading American Automobile Association statistics that Americans spent more than $8,000 driving a medium-size sedan 15,000 miles last year, they eliminated one of the family’s automobiles.  Now, Doug uses a bicycle that he installed an electric bike kit on and public transportation to get around.  This includes riding the electric bike anywhere from Vacaville, CA to Benecia/Vallejo CA  ‘It basically paid for itself in the first month (no insurance, registration, gas, payments, etc.),’ he wrote in an e-mail to the newspaper. ‘It’s fun to ride, and I still can peddle and get exercise as desired.’  After receiving many comments on it, he decided to get a business license and sell and install electric bike kits on existing bicycles.
The family has also significantly reduced using the clothes dryer. ‘It costs nearly 50 cents a load to dry clothes’ he said. ‘It could even be more when you consider it is taking us into PG&E’s second and third tier of kilowatt per hour pricing.’  So, with some spare items that were laying around the shed, he created a closet-type hanger system from hooks in the ceiling of the family’s garage. Clothes get hung up there after washing and then tossed in the dryer for 5 to 10 minutes to fluff them up.  Anybody in the house that doesn’t want to hang up their clothes first has to deposit 50 cents in a cup above the dryer when they use it. This is saving $35-plus per month.  For more ideas on saving money, Doug suggested readers visit the PG&E Web site at, which offers alternatives and posts the cost of things.The dryer, he said, is an easy place to start.  ‘There are ways (around using it),’  ‘There’s not always ways around using other things.’  ‘I’d love to do more,’ he added. ‘The whole solar thing, wind energy, especially living in Cordelia Villages. It would be nice to harness that. But that technology is unreachable for the average person, especially in urban areas.’

The family are big fans of going green. ‘You have to start somewhere,’ he said!

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at (707) 427-6957 or [email protected].

Contact Doug, the owner of Electric Bike Solutions, at the numbers and email below.

Email: [email protected]
(707) 290-9764