Image credit Andrew Hill
Carl Seville, the Green Curmudgeon, scores again with his comments about what I call green gizmo design and he calls eco-bling, describing his "frustration with people's attachment to putting cool "stuff" on their buildings before making sure that those buildings actually operate well."
He writes in Green Building Advisor:
I am reminded of what one of my industrial design professors used to call "dingles" -- the pieces of shiny, useless sheet metal glued onto consumer products like cameras and radios; pieces that when pried off, hit the ground and go "dingle." Now, I realize that solar panels, geothermal HVAC, heat-pump water heaters, and the like are not as useless as applied sheet-metal decorations, but when you put these things on otherwise poorly performing buildings, they are not that much better.
He suggests that there should be an order to these things:
In my perfect world, incentives for renewables would only be provided when all possible measures to reduce building loads were employed first. I just think that giving people grants or tax credits for spending big bucks on solar panels and geothermal wells that are attached to otherwise relatively inefficient buildings is a very poor use of our money.
I couldn't agree more. As the pyramid of conservation demonstrates, add-on gizmos are just about the last thing you should do. I wrote:
Billions of dollars are being, if not wasted, at least not effectively used as the salesmen come around trying to sell windows and solar panels. Everyone wants the sexy stuff and governments are subsidizing it with tax credits, but as we said earlier, the people handing out tax credits should insist that you don't get money for fancy photovoltaics unless you do the cheap low hanging fruit first.
Go Green Curmudgeon!
More on the natural order of things:
Solar Hot Water First. Then Photovoltaics.
The "Pyramid Of Conservation" Is A Terrific Tool For Figuring Out Where To Start To Green Your Home
If I See Another Full Page Pella Window Ad I Am Gonna Scream