DJs are an interesting group -- many choose to get tattoos, chainsmoke, and fly private jets. When you think of "green" and DJs, the first thing that comes to mind is a wad of cash, or something illicit -- not a burning concern for the environment. For years, I dismissed "going green" as a utopian fad, thinking it wouldn't really make a huge difference. I was too lazy to recycle and too skeptical of advances in solar panels and power to feel like changing my lifestyle would matter. Going "green" had no sex appeal. But, recently things began to change.
I heard about a car coming out in the fall called the Tesla Model S -- the specs were 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds with 300 miles of range. Faster than a Maserati, and it plugs into a wall outlet. This sounded impossible -- an idealistic concept car that wouldn't become a reality. I'd driven a Prius before -- which felt underpowered, and just seemed like a liberal hill-dwelling cliché that I see everyday in LA. Across the country, electric car chargers optimistically installed before their time were either forgotten or removed, as the auto industry took years to catch up after killing the electric car early on. Could a Silicon Valley startup really compete with big auto?
Tesla required a fully refundable $5k deposit to test drive the car, so I took the plunge. I changed some flights on my tour to get back to LA for the test drive later that month, and drove directly from the airport to Tesla's design studio 10 minutes from LAX. We did a lap around the airport hangar, hit the freeway, and floored it during one section to demonstrate the acceleration, which I'll never forget. This was certainly not a Prius. It had the acceleration of a high-end sports car but no 11-MPG headaches or engine roar. You could hear the music playing inside, instead of the car. It was so quiet that they needed car chaperones to warn people when cars were exiting the test-drive area. This wasn't the future -- it was the present. Car deliveries started this summer and the model S is sold out until June of 2013.
Although expensive, the Model S is an example of amazing innovation that delivers real environmental impact, with no compromise. You don't need to fill your car with biofuel, ethanol, or any toxic substance. You plug it in for a fraction of the cost of gasoline and charge overnight. My plan is to install solar panels on my roof, which will be enough to power the entire house, music studio, and car. Each month it actually pays for itself, rather than the expensive solar costs of the past. All that energy that normally goes to waste will be directly fueling the music and the car, spinning the meter backwards but moving things forwards.
This is the big picture plan, but in the meantime -- until my car arrives, I've taken a series of smaller steps to help reduce my impact on the environment and monthly bills. I use power strips that turn off wasteful standby power, installed low wattage bulbs, and removed most of the hot, power draining hardware from my studio that caused me to crank up the AC. I've also converted all paper bills and invoices to digital, stopped using canned air -- and started using an electrical device for cleaning computers. Next up is installing networked lights that respond to remote control and motion sensors.
This isn't an idealistic vision -- this is what technology provides today. So I encourage you to look at ways to improve your work environment and commute -- because the options are much better and more affordable than you think.