Rahul Nihalani

Head of Growth, Aurora Solar

Connect with Rahul

What is your favorite eco-friendly product that you own and how do you use it?

It is a simple steel water bottle that I use to drink water everyday. Buying bottled water is not only bad for the environment, as 88% of empty plastic water bottles in the United States are not recycled and it can take nearly 7 times the amount of water in the bottle to actually make the bottle itself, but also, unfortunately, sends the wrong message that clean drinking water is not a human right and not worth protecting.

Does your house have any design elements that keep your carbon footprint low? If so, what are they?

Yes, we have solar panels on our roof and double paned windows and insulation to avoid energy loss.

What are two small things you do around the house to live more sustainably?

Composting and recycling! We also subscribe to this super cool win-win service called Ohmconnect, which notifies us when our home is using dirty sources of energy (during high demand times) and if we save energy during that time (by turning off lights, appliances, etc.) then we get paid and the grid doesn't have to rely on as much dirty energy!

What kind of car do you drive?

Since I live in San Francisco and work in Palo Alto, I bike to the train station and then take the train to work. If I need to drive somewhere, I use a really amazing service called Getaround, which allows me to rent cars from other people nearby.

What is your best piece of advice for others who are interested in living a more eco-friendly lifestyle?

Get inspired! There are tons of ways to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, but unless you're inspired to make a change, it won't happen. I've found documentaries to be a really fun and engaging way to learn about the big things affecting our planet and what you can do about it.

Have you made any diet changes that allow you to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle? If so, what changes have you made?

Yes, the biggest change to my diet that I've made is to reduce my meat consumption. I used to eat a good amount of meat because I thought that I needed it for protein and to build muscles in the gym. After watching a documentary called "Forks Over Knives" and seeing doctors and scientists talk about the amazing benefits of the plant-based diet, I decided to try it cold-turkey for a year! I felt the best I've ever felt and was, surprisingly, stronger in the gym! Now, my diet is 90% plant-based and when I go out to restaurants I eat whatever sounds most delicious!

What is one lifestyle change you’ve made to reduce your carbon footprint?

I bought a bicycle recently, and I'm loving it! I was inspired when I spent a few weeks in Amsterdam and everyone there rides bikes. Bicyclists are respected and given the right of way and cars pay more attention to them. Imagine your city or town if most people rode bikes? We could change the rules to help support that reality, like they've done in Amsterdam.

Who do you think is making a big difference in the renewable energy industry that the public should be keeping an eye on?

Your neighborhood Solar energy installer. There are thousands of small to medium sized businesses all over the USA that are passionate about the spread of solar energy. If you've been considering it, (or haven't thought about it) NOW is definitely the time to look into solar panels for your home or business as the technology has become cheap and until 2019, there is a federal tax credit of 30%, which leads to huge savings! Most people don't realize that they could be saving a lot of money on their energy bills by going solar.