Look ma, no bills

Wed, 2007-01-17 12:33Emily Murgatroyd
Emily Murgatroyd's picture

Look ma, no bills

A New Jersey man, funded by a mix of public, private and personal money, has created the first home in the US that generates all of its own electricity through a combination of solar and hydrogen power. Every appliance in his 3000ft house, including his car, is powered through solar panels on the roof of a nearby dwelling on the property and the unused solar power is stored in hydrogen cells for use during solar down times.

All of this resulting in no energy bills. Though the startup and building costs are high for aspiring eco-friendly home owners, the project paints a picture of the scope of renewable energy and how within our reach, implementing eco-friendly energy solutions really are.

Comments

From the article, it appears that it cost $500,000 up front to save $1500 a year on electricity and heating. Obviously, renewable energy is out of the reach of the masses if this article is any indication. Regards,

And obviously you only work in absolutes and exaggeration. Yes, renewabe energy in the form of totally cutting off usage of non-renewable energy is out of reach now, but that doesn’t mean renewable energy in ENTIRELY out of reach.

For example, buy a hybrid instead of a convential engine, shich up front will cost you about $2000 more – but with the tax credits and gas savings, they’re cheaper over five years and change all your lightbulbs over to compact fourescent (they cast about $2 each).

Big problems are solved one step at a time and it is your type of thinking that is part of the problem.
I agree with you that it’s out of reach right now. The point of my post was to show that renewable energy scenarios are not science fiction and are entirely possible. If we had a market that valued and commoditized renewable energy then, like any new technology, prices would come down with competition. Think first VCR, iPod, Flat Screen TV, Hybrid Car……..These technologies were once vastly expensive and within years reached a price point that connected with consumers. The first DVD players sold for over $1000 in the late 1990’s. Last I saw, they were about $40 in London Drugs.

Good points Emily. So how do we get to point where this technology can be commodified enough to start seriously bringing the price down? Regards,

Excercise your right to vote and elect politicians who value the environment and see green innovation as a tremendous economic opportunity for Canadians. Stay involved and be active - write letters, sign petitions and lobby for change.
Well said Emily, The biggest change we can make at the indvidual level is to demand that our governments take real action on this important issue.

Well I disagree with that point Anon. The largest, most influential change any individual can do is to revamp their own lifestyle first. Pawning off onto the government all responsibility for action is a cop-out and seriously hypocritical.

It is because so few Canadians are willing to constrain their consumptive lifestyles (while still giving lip service to concern over AGW) that our government can not effectively act. Regards,

Again with the absolute thinking. Ya know, Paul, it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time.

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Actually Paul, while I don’t disagree with you at all on curbing our own over-consumptive lifestyle, policy will have a larger impact on developing the oilsands in a sustainable way, which currently, could become the largest greenhouse gas emitting project in Canada and policy will dictate carbon taxes that will make it more expensive to drive and policy will give economic incentives for industry to comply with environmental mandates, more than reusing your shopping bag will. While it’s important to walk the walk for your own personal lifestyle, you’re giving a lot of credit to a society that over consumes in the first place and is faced with a system that not only promotes overconsumption but values it. That’s a huge force to come up against and if you’re assuming that this Hummer driving, Paris Hilton coveting society will suddenly have a change of heart, I think you’re being idealstic. And let’s just say that idealism is starting to take a hold on more on more populations, the majority of Canadians, for instance, want to change but don’t know how and would like to see government setting out a policy that makes it easier for them to do so. I admire your faith in humanity but I think we need to tackle our personal habits at the same time that we battle for changes in national public policy.

Exactly! The only way society will change their behaviour is if it hits them in the wallet, which is why legislation and regulation is the only way to go.

Tax shifting is required to make non-renewable energy sources more costly to consumers while making renewable energy more affordable. This can (and perhaps must) be done in a revenue-neutral way so the libertarians of the world can’t whine about cash cows or cash grabs.

You illustrate my point Stephen. The main reason Canadians are so lukewarm in their support to combat AGW is because most Canadians don’t want to take a hit in their wallet or their lifestyles. Since we are governed by people we elect, our politicians tend to display this same wishy-washy commitment to the issue.

Until Canadians at large are firmly and seriously committed to action, we will engage in mostly token efforts. To me, wasting time blaming corporations like Exxon is simply a sideshow to deflect blame from the real culprits: ourselves. Regards,

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There can be – and usually is – more than one culprit. Both – or more than two – are real culprits. All culprits can, and should be, addressed in creating solutions. Repeatedly saying there is only one culprit, or one real culprit, is a dishonest or foolish way to let someone off the hook; don’t do it. (If there really was only one thing one could do to help the world, the single best one would be to club dualism to death.)

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