NYT on conservation and solar energy

This was an interesting week in the New York Times. Thursday’s House and Home featured a cover story about home solar (photo voltaic) installations mostly in NY and California where tax incentives encourage home owners to add solar panels.

Saturday’s business section featured a front page article about Japan’s energy conservation. In Japan the average household uses half of what the average American house hold uses anualy in electricity measured in KW hours. They have electricity meters that help them actually guage how much energy they are using. Imagine if you could log in to your home energy system and see the fluctuations in your energy uses? Or if that spinning meter was in your kitchen rather than outside in the back of the house… I am sure it would modify behavior.

Then there were a handful of articles about Gerald Ford, apparently he was the first conservation president. Even before Carter put solar panels on the white house, Ford instituted a $3 per barrel oil import tax (oil was about $11 a barrel back then) and called for greater energy independence.

But then today, on the front page of the Sunday Week In Review there was an article about fluorescent light bulbs and Wal-Marts big push on CFLs for home use. I was just talking to my father about it, he is committed to replacing at least 3 bulbs in his house with CFLs. Last month, I replaced nearly every bulb in my Seattle apartment with CFLs. But this article sent exactly the wrong message which was “Fluorescent lighting is ugly and not as nice as incandescent bulbs.” And “Humans are drawn to incadescence like moths to a flame, it is primordial.” Well just like those moths, if we don’t kick the incandescent habit and learn to like fluorescence we might be consumed in “the flame” of catastrophic climate change.

I almost forgot, there was also an article about the wacky weather we have been experiencing in the United States (you know 70 degrees in NYC on Jan 6…). The article asks if the disparate impace of climate change and the wacky weather on the United States has an effect on our committment to “do something” about it.

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