Shade Before the Solar Solution

Albuquerque summers are the worst.

Its true, to me at least. The three months from June to August are usually met with fear and loathing on my part. Even my barber worries about me, because my summer haircuts always include a cut that too short for someone with my ear size. Oh great now every summer I walk around with my ears trying to dissipate heat like elephants in the Sahara. Such is life as a Burqueno, summertime in the ABQ.

Not to be totally doom & gloom, but here’s my Letterman style top ten list of reasons why I think ABQ summers suck.

  1. Nighttime temps never cool down
  2. Car’s A/C barely cools down while I drive
  3. Car seats regularly burn my legs/back
  4. Driving to work, its 70-80 degrees and I’m already warm
  5. My A/C kicks on at 6am or I sweat through my bedsheets
  6. I can’t enjoy hot coffee in the morning
  7. Too hot to sit outside to maximize patios
  8. I sweat through my clothes
  9. Monsoon season never arrives on time, nor does it dispel drought conditions
  10. A/C is running all day on the weekends
  11. Electricity bills can get out of control
  12. Oh great now my money burns away with each minute my A/C unit is running
  13. Oh really great now my wife and I have to have a budget talk and discuss ways to curb my A/C usage

So here we are, its late May in Albuquerque, and I’m already dreading the hottest months of the year. To escape the heat, my wide & I head to our local movie theater. Cherry Coke and a popcorn is standard, as is the relative escapism of a solid movie. But movie season in the summer brings an added benefit, I get to escape the heat. Have you seen the weird cars normally parked far away but carefully positioned under a tree for shade? Yup that’s how I roll, and my car is always parked in a way to minimize baking under the summer sun.

Now we’re finally inside, snacks in hand, and cruise around to find a good seat. We have ten minutes to burn, so my wife and I sit down to relish the cool calm atmosphere. Dreaming out loud, we have this quick exchange:


Nick: I could do this EVERY day. Nice and cool, lean back in this movie recliner, wish I could do this at home.

Wife: We can’t.

N: Why not??

W: Its too expensive to come to the movies every day and buy all these treats. Plus we have a perfectly good tv at home.

N: Yeah but I can’t run the A/C long enough to enjoy the cool air.

W: Well maybe you should figure out a way. You’re smart, too smart to spend all our money at the movie theater.


End Scene.


Cue to hot parking lot, folding up the sun shade, and dreaming out loud again. What if there was a way to control my disdain for ABQ heat without breaking the bank? And what if we could eliminate tough conversations about budgets, comfort, and whether I should be complaining so much about the summer? More importantly, was I complaining because I was unhappy? Could I find a solution to be happier, control my costs, and future proof upcoming patterns like the recurring ABQ summers? Of course I could, because my wife said that I’m smart, so let’s connect the dots and figure out a course of action.

Here’s what I know, that you can only worry about what you can control or change. Can I control the cost of electricity, rate increases, or continuing temperature increases in our city? Absolutely not. What can be changed is how those factors influence my decisions going forward for the well-being of my family. If we do it right, we might even keep more of our hard-earned money in the process.

This is what I know:

  • PNM rate increases are occurring every year through 2019, with a total rate increase of 14-18%
  • My electricity bills will only get more expensive.
  • Starting today, it will get more expensive for me to cool & heat my house for the next three years
  • It will be more expensive regardless of how I regulate usage of the HVAC unit.
  • Albuquerque summers are hot
  • More money will need to be budgeted for energy bills going forward
  • I have to spend money each month on energy bills, because I refuse to live in the dark.

This is the story documenting factors I cannot control but complain about anyway, and then being smart enough and/or mad enough to figure out a solution.  To finish it all off, this just might be a story about the solution empowering us to make life just a little bit better.

Stay tuned friends…

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