Good News Friday - Totally Green
England's Liberal Democrats are drafting legislation that would allow homeowners to take out so-called "energy mortgages", special loans that would help pay for energy-saving improvements. The loans would be tied to the houses as a way to ensure that homes are brought up to tough new energy standards.
San Francisco is getting it's first "green cab company". Green Cab is committed to putting a fleet of hybrid taxis on our streets--a great boon to the cab taking public but also to the drivers who have to pay for their own fuel and can cut that cost by 75%.
Power Your Home...From Your Car
PG&E is talking about a pilot program that would have owners of "plug-in hybrids" selling their excess electricity back to the grid at a modest profit or using it to power their homes. The gist is that power could be purchased from renewable sources--off-hours when it's cheap--and then stored in a high-capacity hybrids and then used later.
Think you need a 3000 square foot house in order to live comfortably? Think again. A Northern California artist-builder has created a home that measure 96 square feet--loft, kitchen, and living room--a testament to the notion that layout (and storage space) are everything. And just imagine how energy efficient this little abode is?
I saw on Yahoo a bit back where some girl had one of those, and she was going on and on about how "green" she was and how responsible and whatnot - I would have believed her - until she showed how she would try to "guilt" folks in traditional housing by DRAGGING HER HOUSE AROUND behind an F-350!
Who Hijacked Our Country
Julie... Thanks for the link.
Sewmouse... An F-350?! That's sad. So do you think you could squeeze your quilt frame into say...200 sq. ft.? ;-)
Ron... Big yard I think, but the builder tried the same sort of arrangement with an airstream--renovating the hell out of it. Ultimately he gave it up because it was too poorly insulated.
These ideas of green mortgages, green cabs and green houses show an abundance of green thinking.
Green mortgages offer no incentives to homeowners. You need only look at the Prius to understand why. If the house, like the Prius, requires less energy, it will cost more than a less efficient structure. Thus, a buyer would face the issue of deciding if the energy-efficient home is worth the added price. Or, could the buyer buy an older, energy-hog house for less and install his own improvements.
The green car argument also fails. First, the writer of the linked article provides a mileage figure for the cabs that implies the electricity to run the car is free. Meanwhile, I can't think of a less hospitible environment for hybrid cars, or electric cars, than San Francisco. The electric motors are okay when used on horizontal roads. But San Francisco? In a hybrid, the electric motor will run very little -- the gas engine will kick in a lot -- but the batteries will remain charged as a result of braking.
Meanwhile, the writer suggested putting an additional battery in the car -- at a cost of $10,000. For $10,000, the owner of a Prius can purchase enough gas -- at today's prices -- to travel 150,000 miles.
You can be sure if electric vehicles become popular we will have a new disposal problem. Discarded tires are a huge issue today. Widespread acceptance of electric cars will create a discarded-battery problem.
The writer also claimed Prius owners could charge their batteries at low rates at night and sell the electricity back to the utility company during the day for a profit. Come on!
If the idea actually caught on in a big way, it would cut into utility company profits. That would lead to a request for a rate increase from the utility company. The request would receive approval because the infrastructure to allow car batteries to pump electricity into the grid would cost enough to warrant the increase.
Meanwhile, night-time rates would rise because night-time demand would rise if vast numbers of car-owners were recharging big batteries. When the electricity stored in batteries during the night is returned to the grid, the abundant supply would likely cut daytime prices. Hence, the difference between day and night prices would shrink, reducing the incentive of Prius buyers to invest $10,000 in a car battery.