Survey: Are Solar Panels On A Subdivision A Good Thing, Or Are They Lipstick on a Pig?

KB Homes, not the one shown in plan but chosen for its ugliness/Promo image

Sami and I have been having a bunfight in the water cooler, ever since he put up his post KB Home's Solar-As-Standard Spreads to Florida. Will It Make Solar Mainstream?. Sami, anticipating my objections, writes:

We greenies shouldn't lament something that makes clean energy tangible, accessible and decidedly more mainstream. The more solar gets installed, the cheaper it becomes....I, for one, am delighted. It might be lipstick on a pig. But putting lipstick on every pig eventually makes for cheaper lipstick for the other farm animals too.

I raised all of my usual objections.

KB Homes/Promo image

I won't even go into the fact that the subdivision where they are starting this has a walkscore of 8, . Lets just look at the house, with its plan that has no cross ventilation even in bedrooms at corners, no thought about how one might actually live with the air conditioning off. Or the brown roof, when a white roof would reduce cooling loads by over 20%. I asked Sami:

So what do we applaud here? that they reduce AC load by a few watts by adding something when they could avoid the need for it in the first place?

Sami responds "Yes. it is a muted applause," but a small step in the right direction.

A small car is better than a big car and a bicycle is better than a small car. But the possibility of choosing a bicycle doesn't mean that it's not progress when someone chooses a small car instead of a hummer.

In the end, I think it is telling that Sami posts his story in Energy/ Renewable Energy whereas I fundamentally believe that the solution to our problem is all about Design.


Tags: Green Building | Housing Industry | Solar Energy | Solar Power

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