March 17, 2008

How Dumb Is This?

Burn coal to boil water, use steam to spin turbines and run generators to make electricity. Transport this electricity long distances to connect to a coil at the bottom of a tank--to make hot water. Solar hot water panels are just as dumb too, but because they're so simple. Often times they are just a box with a glass lid and black pipes in it; you can even build them yourself. Others, like evacuated tube collectors are more efficient if more expensive.

A solar water heater could save $450 a year and keep almost a ton of CO2 emissions out of the air, multiply that by 80 million American homes. And the technology has been around for a while as Chinese manufacturers are cranking them out. So why doesn't every house have them?

"First, installation can cost more than $5,000 dollars, especially in older houses. Second, new home buyers apparently don't like to see solar water heaters disrupting their roof lines"-EcoGeek.

In Israel its the law new houses have solar heated hot water, and in the city of Fresno rebates and financing is available for those who wish to add solar to their home. And it isn't just for the sunny south either. Solar hot water is the cheapest and most effective active solar power system there is. It leaves fossil fuels and electricity for uses that require a higher grade of heat. Let's put it in the building codes.

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