We first met Eliot over huevos rancheros at Devil’s Food. Not only did we have a shared passion for good food, but also for our environment. Eliot Abel is a Co-Owner of Namaste Solar, and he was happy to give us a bit of insight into their program.
How did you and your family find yourself in Denver and ultimately Wash Park?
My wife and I decided to make the move to Denver three years ago. We were coming out once a year to ski with friends, and the size of the city and access to the mountains were appealing to us. With our families split between the East and West coasts, Denver was the spot in between that we both agreed would be a fantastic place to raise a family.
We were looking for a walkable urban neighborhood with good schools and access to parks. In the end, we just got lucky and found a great house in Wash Park. We love being within a short walk of the park and the shops on Old South Gaylord. With two young kids, we are in the park (and at the playground in particular) all the time.
You work for the widely-loved and locally-owned company, Namasté Solar. Tell us a little bit more about its mission and yours. Have you always had a passion for environmental innovation?
Namasté Solar was founded in 2005 in Boulder and is one of the longest-running solar companies in Colorado. We are employee-owned and a certified B-Corp, meaning we meet rigorous standards for social and environmental responsibility. We’re also unique in our vertical integration, covering all aspects of a solar project in-house, from design to installation to servicing solar systems. To date, we’ve installed over 8,000 solar systems for homeowners and businesses throughout Colorado and have grown to 150 employees, half of whom are co-owners of the company. We have a wonderful base of customers, including many in Wash Park, who have supported our growth by going solar themselves (sometimes across multiple properties) as well as referring their friends, neighbors, and business partners.
Personally, I’ve been passionate about environmental issues since my first backpacking trip in junior high. Escaping the big city traffic and smog for the wilderness of Wyoming was a life-changing experience for me. After college, I ran grassroots environmental campaigns around the country before finding my way to renewable energy in 2006. I’ve worked across renewable energy technologies, but what I love about solar in particular is its accessibility. A homeowner or business can put solar on their roof and take control of their energy, saving money and providing cleaner air for their community at the same time. I used to work in wind energy, and while I still love giant wind turbines, there is no way you’re putting one of those in your backyard!
Now seems like a better time than any to see how solar can save a family money. What is the best way for homeowners to see if solar will work for them?
There is no question that times are tough right now. We’re all struggling to adjust to new restrictions on our daily lives and concerned about the health and economic well-being of our friends, families, and neighbors. For many, a solar project may not be a top consideration – and that is understandable. But for those that are interested, solar offers a way to save on your energy bills, increase the value of your property, and have a positive impact on our local community at the same time.
Our non-commissioned team of solar advisers can help you determine if solar is right for your home or commercial property. Even in this time of social-distancing, we’re still able to provide free custom quotes remotely, ensuring your safety and the safety of our team. Check out our website for details: www.namastesolar.com. And, if you do reach out, be sure to mention that I’m your neighbor for $500 off your solar system.
Do you and your family practice sustainability at home?
There is always room for improvement, but we try. We installed solar on our roof, which offsets 100% of our annual electricity usage, and we’re diligent about recycling and composting. We limit our driving, take public transit when we can, and I manage to bike to work on occasion, although I’m trying to make that more of a regular occurrence. I’m hoping we can consolidate down to one car (and an electric one at that) in the near future, but it’s tough with two young kids that go to different schools (when there is school that is). Otherwise, we are frequent supporters of local restaurants and shops.
How are you and your family passing the time during this new normal?
Working from home while taking care of two kids is a challenge for my wife and me, but we’re making the most of it. We’re doing a ton of art projects with random items we find around our house and we get outside as much as possible to bike, scooter or walk, including essential trips to Devil’s Food Bakery. The slower pace has also allowed us to discover things about our neighborhood that we may have otherwise overlooked.
At our home, we have found that living simply is much more attainable than we thought. It gives us hope to think that our environment will benefit in some way from this quarantine. What are some changes you’ve made that will carry over even after this is over?
My hope is that there will be a silver lining in all of this and that people will see the benefits in driving less, spending more time in their local community, and enjoying cleaner air and quieter streets. One thing we’re all realizing is that we are all in this together and I’ve loved witnessing the overwhelming support extended to neighbors and local businesses. I hope we carry forward this commitment to supporting our local community when we’re on the other side of this pandemic.
What is the first thing you want to do when the ‘stay at home’ order is lifted?
Walk up to one of the restaurants on Old South Gaylord and enjoy a meal with my family WITHOUT HAVING TO TAKE IT HOME, followed by ice cream at Bonnie Brae.
Thank you for your daily support of sustainable living. We can’t wait for the day where we can share another breakfast at our favorite spot with you soon.