As you kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor, let’s consider the larger implications of your home remodeling project. You’ve done something not only for yourself but also for the rest of us. By becoming more energy independent, you are making an important contribution to our country’s economy. It’s no secret that our dependence on foreign oil creates economic turmoil. In fact, 10 out of the 11 U.S. recessions since World War II occurred after oil price spikes. We can free ourselves from this cycle if more households take the kind of action you did.

You’ve probably also increased the resale value of your home. Your Homeowner’s Manual will demonstrate to future buyers that you’ve upgraded the home in ways that will save them money. Your energy-monitoring tools and utility bills will prove it.

But you’ve done even more. You’ve taken your first step into the world of the future. The Internet gives each of us tremendous access to, and control over, information—a power that, as we’ve seen, can revolutionize governments. Now, new technologies offer us the same kind of control over our use of energy—the lifeblood of the modern economy. With solar panels, fuel cells, advanced efficiency, conservation, smart energy devices, and more, you can produce, and control your use of, energy in ways once only accessible to large corporations and governments. Call it the democratization of energy, and give yourself a pat on the back for being among the first to join the movement.

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