Whatever Bush says is a lie? That MUST be a truth!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


I remember one day when I was in undergraduate school, me and some environmentalist friends went to a public hearing held by TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) to voice our concerns over TVA's nuclear energy programs.

I remember a little old lady who stood up before these TVA officials and said, "It will be a great day when we can bake cookies with solar powered ovens. Why doesn't TVA work on developing solar power for homes instead of spending billions of dollars on nuclear energy?"

This little old lady got me to daydreaming about the possibilities of solar energy.

The problem with solar energy for existing homeowners has always been the cost of converting your home from conventional energy to solar energy. But this didn't answer my question about all the new homes and subdivisions being built.

Why don't more real estate developers, when constructing homes, equip the homes with more solar power technology? I dreamed about how nice it would be if new home buyers had the opportunity to purchase a brand new home with solar technology.

Well in California, a real estate developer has done just that. Premier Gardens is a subdivision of zero energy homes that not only reduce energy consumption but actually produce the energy that is consumed by its residents. They are equipped with solar panels, tinted windows to prevent too much sun from coming in, and gas powered water heaters that only heat water when the tap is turned on. The homeowners use energy saving appliances and energy saving fluorescent light bulbs.

When the homes produce energy, the energy is harnessed by a local utility company and shared with the other residents. Your electricity bill is calculated by deducting the amount of energy your home produced from the amount of energy consumed. Some months you owe nothing!

Newsweek profiled a family that has been living at Premier Gardens for a year. Over 10 months this family, living in a 2,200 square foot three bedroom home, spent a grand total of $75 on electricity bills. For the past two months they haven't had to pay a dime to the utility company for electricity, because the home is producing more energy than the famliy is consuming.

Skeptics may argue that these energy producing homes equipped with energy saving technology are more costly to build than a conventional energy consuming home. They are not wrong. However, as evidenced by the Premier Gardens homeowners, the zero energy homes pay for themselves in the long run, and it takes 7-12 years to pay for the technology that enables you to produce your own energy. Furthermore, you get tax breaks and rebates.

In Lakeland, Florida, an experiment was conducted. Two identical homes were built, in such a way that they both receieved the same amount of sun from the same compass points. One home was a conventional energy consumption home, and the other was a zero energy home.

After a year, the zero energy home consumed 70% less energy than the conventional energy consumption home.


The United States gets 20% of its electricity from nuclear energy. The energy companies want American taxpayers to foot the bills for even more nuclear power plants.

But if these zero energy homes are reducing average family home energy consumption by 70%, what is the necessity of more nuclear power plants? There is none.

More real estate developers need to follow the lead of the developers of Premier Gardens in California, and give more Americans the opportunity to buy new, energy producing homes. This is a realistic, environmentally friendly approach to reducing reliance on foreign energy resources and also in making the air and water cleaner for future generations to come.

See also: "On the Path to Zero Energy Homes" for a scientific governmental analysis of the Technology


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