Posts Tagged ‘solar power’

Low Hanging Fruit and Big Watermelons

April 18, 2014

That was how Philippe Benoit, the head of the International Energy Agency, described the perception of achieving energy efficiency versus what it’s often like. Suggesting that people feel they are not plucking a ripe apple off a tree but having to lift a heavy watermelon when it comes to fixing their homes in order to make them energy efficient. Alfred_Sisley_031
The BusinessWeek article also quoted him as saying “It’s perceived as boring and intangible, and the combination of the two makes it more difficult to understand. It’s much easier for people to understand putting solar panels on their roof and seeing the kilowatt-hours they generate than putting insulation in their home and noting the savings in energy consumption.”
My great grandfather was a farmer in the Midwest. As a kid, my father would visit the farm with siblings and cousins and they would all go out to the fields with grandpa where the watermelons were. I imagine it seemed like quite a walk when you were young. The mission was to bring melons back for later, to share with the family, but somehow, my great grandfather managed to drop every time on the walk back. “Well…” I can imagine him saying, “guess we’ll have to eat that one here.”
Solar panels are a great technology and for many make sense, but they are only part of a larger solution for you at home. At the risk of adding another food metaphor, they should be the icing on top of the cake, the cake being a well insulated and air-sealed home, designed to provide the fresh air you need, and having efficient heating and cooling systems inside.

Watermelons are only big and unwieldy when they are whole. Breaking them up makes light work of what seemed like a big task. And there’s nothing more satisfying with sharing the rewards of your labor with your family immediately. Maybe we can’t make energy efficiency flashy and exciting, but the fruits are worth the effort, GreenHomes can help.

 

Thanks,

Jason

Image of Alfred Sisley painting from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alfred_Sisley_041.jpg
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Mandatory Common Sense

March 18, 2013

We often preach “reduce first” as the sensable approach for homeowners who are looking at installing expensive renewable energy.  It just makes sense.  If it costs a lot to install solar panels, make your home more efficient first reducing the number you need, and then install less of them!  Same goes for heating and cooling equipment.  Reduce the need for cooling or heating and install a smaller unit.

sun wiki

As reported by KCET, one town in California may be looking at mandatory solar panels on every roof.  Lancaster CA, a city of 160,000, is one of the top three cities for generating solar.  Clearly it’s an area that has succeeded with solar as you would expect in such a sunny place.

Using solar to help reduce energy costs for lighting, water heating, and air conditioning is all well and good, but there are some simple steps to take first.  Improvements such as adding efficient lighting, reducing air leaks and increasing insulation go a long way and cost far less.  Our GreenHomes America folks in Fresno, Hayward, San Jose, Los Banos, and San Diego, know that, how a home performs matters a great deal, and they know solar too.

I vote for mandatory common sense with a side order of solar!

Thanks,

Jason

 image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun


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