Blogging SF Chronicle Magazine: A Deeper Shade of Green

Blogging SF Chronicle Magazine: A Deeper Shade of Green

Stephanie Kinnear
Jun 23, 2008

Wouldn't it be nice if, at the end of the month, PG&E owed you $703.46? They wouldn't exactly cut you a check, but wouldn't the knowledge be gratifying?

That's the kind of energy bill Steve Greenberg and Liz Varnhagen (Berkeley, Ca) get every month -- a negative one because their solar panels feed green energy back into the grid.

According to the article "A Deeper Shade of Green: Counting volts in Berkeley," (by Sam Whiting) the couple does plenty of other things to green their lifestyle.

But here's the catch: We can't decide whether Whiting thinks that's a good or bad thing ...

Both Steve and Liz ride their bicycles to work -- Whiting calls it "punishment." The two bundle up at home rather than turning on the heat -- Whiting writes that "it takes several layers because their clothes are secondhand." (We didn't realize that secondhand clothes were, as a rule, less warm than new clothes?) The two generally choose not to watch TV -- Whiting writes, "If they need entertainment, Varnhagen can bow up her cello. Or there is the fun in watching the PG & E meter spin backward."

Are we being too sensitive, or does the article paint this couple's green commitment as an uncomfortable (sometimes downright dreary) way to live?

We'd love to know your opinion.

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