The Florida governor's mansion just got a little bit greener. Gov. Charlie Crist has installed several new features that are more eco-friendly, including solar panels on the roof and a hydrogen fuel cell, that the governor says will reduce the mansion's emissions by 20 percent.
But he's getting a little flap for spending so much money on the eco-tools.
[The new, $70,000] hydrogen fuel cell isn't all that cost effective. It is expected to produce 22,000 kilowatt hours worth of power for the mansion each year. At a rate of just over 13 cents a kilowatt hour (charged by the utility owned by the city of Tallahassee), the cell saves about $2,900 off the mansion's annual electric bill. At that rate, it won't pay for itself until 2031.
Of course, one easy and inexpensive way to save energy is to turn the air-conditioning thermostat turned up. But Crist isn't interested in that:
When pressed, Gov. Crist acknowledged that he still likes to keep the mansion chilly with his thermostat turned down to the low 70s. He agreed that uses a lot of energy.
"You just got to do the best you can," Crist said.