Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Good and Safe Investment

After some months of bureaucratic processing and as soon as the land dries out a bit we will start the construction of our 100kw photovoltaic plant. This is a ground based project, a good contribution to clean and safe energy. The thing that is really interesting about this is that it is such a good investment. Briefly it will have an internal rate of return of around 21% over a 20 to 30 year life span, when done on land already owned. And the income is guaranteed by the Italian government and ENEL a large European power company. A big portion of the income comes from incentives. There is a positive cash flow from day one and the initial investment will be paid back in around four years. The incentive is for 20 years and the life of the panels is around 30 years or more. So power can be sold even after the incentive ends. This also based upon 30% equity and a loan for 15 years.

Our role in all of this has been to be the architects of the project for clients who are family members. We will manage the plant over its lifespan, assuming ours is the same. Through this process we have become pretty much experts in the overall picture. We have done the paper work, the overall plans, the hiring of the contractor/supplier, and the electrical engineer. Now we will oversee the construction.

We now know that this is a good opportunity as an investment, but at the same time it is not so easy to implement. We realize that our knowledge could be of use to others and though it is not exactly architecture it is the kind of service that we could offer as architects based upon our own experience not just in this project but in all phases of dealing with government agencies and taking something from the idea to the final construction. This after all what we do as architects. So contact us if you any interest in such a project anywhere in Italy.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What's He Going to do Now?

He doesn't understand that American is way past the time of moving forward in a civil manner. He can't work with people who's stated goal is to run him out of office - make him a one term president. So his only hope is to re-evaluate what it was that got him elected and then act in what ever way he can as president without the help of congress. He might start by ordering the troops home from those wars that only serve to take the lives of our troops and do nothing for American security. But the sad truth is that in spite of being beat up, lied about and kicked in the face he won't stand up and fight back. He will continue to live in the fantasy that there is such a thing as real honest politics - too bad. The American people had a chance to have a real president who was for them, the common man that makes up the majority, and now I fear it's completely lost.

Oh well, I think it's time I learned to Tango, and just put on a happy face.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Election

Truly amazing that's all I can say. The republicans completely screwed up the country, but the dems couldn't fix it fast enough so the people want the republicans back for more of what they got before. Have Americans completely lost their minds?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Holloween in Switzerland

It's not really clebrated in Italy or Switzerland so this was the
first time the kids had a chance to cut some pumpkins in years.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Prostate Cancer

One of my neighbors recently came back from his prostate cancer surgery and I'm reminded that prostate cancer is a curable disease if caught early.  He is only 52 and I've a feeling that his was not found as early as mine was and that his prognosis may not be as good.  The thing that bothers me is that I still read that testing ( psa, free psa and rectal exams) is still not fully recognized as statistically saving lives.  It is true that most men, something like 80% will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives and for most they will die of something else before the cancer gets them.  I guess I don't care much about statistics.  I'd rather see lives saved and suffering reduced even if it means that some needless biopsies will be done and there will be some added costs to the medical system.

Men get tested after age 40 and women make your men do it.  For me I'm still prostate cancer free after 3 years and living a totally normal life and glad I asked my doctor to prescribe the tests.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our tenth anniversary trip in 08.

Posting these pictures of our trip and stay at Fattoria Poggio Alloro
for my Facebook friend Leslie.

The kitchen redo is finished

We have finished the redo of our kitchen. It's still not up to
American kitchen standards but for us it's a big improvement. We
moved the frig into the bathroom that is at the end of the kitchen and
now use that area for a pantry/storage area. New wood counter tops
and finally an oven have made it all come together.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Our little kitchen remodel

It's not really a remodel just some changes to make it more
serviceable. We bought new counter tops and moved the frig to the
little storage/bathroom, moved in one cabinet from the other apartment
we occupy and the whole area just got much bigger as far as useability
goes. One challenge was creating a small eating area in the kitchen
which it seems Italians can't live without. After a lot of thought
and some compromise I came up with this extension to the counter that
rolls out to make a place big enough for two. The chairs will get
replaced with some small stools.

Tommorow I hope to do the counter at the sink area, then add an oven
which we have never had and one more of those white shelves on the

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Julia at 11 years old

Just a few pictures from the little party we had for her. All these
big girls had pizza alone at a nearby restaurant and came here for
presents and cake.