Discuss National Solar Tour on IKEAFANS.com. We're Personalizing the IKEA Experience. National Solar Tour - Do you have environmental concerns? Want to know what IKEA's corporate policies are on formaldehyde, VOC's, offgassing, de-foresting and what's up with no more free bags? Find it here, along with tips on building and living green..
Hi everyone! I just wanted to drop a note to say that this year's National Solar Tour - Ohio's portion - was very successful. We had around 150 people (more then we expected) attend tours of our solar sustainable home all day Saturday 10/6/07. Our IKEA cabinets received a lot of praise by our guests!
I encourage all of you to get involved in your state in next year's tour - it's always the 1st weekend in October each year. You can read more about Ohio's portion of the solar tour at GEO and see photos of our house at The Nutter Residence: Dream Home, Green Home (PS the kitchen isn't completely finished yet, so when we finish it up we'll post it here. It's Nexus Birch with Lansa handles, concrete floors, soapstone counters, stainless back splashes, and butcherblock raised bar top).
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I've been a big fan of the Knutter House project and even did a report on the house in my Environmental Design class. I have been fascinated by all stages of the project and I'm so glad that others in the area are getting a chance to see how the whole house works now that it is all done (well almost). Thanks so much for sharing you and your family's journey with us all!
I don't want to start a fight, I post similar responses to many green threads I encounter all over the 'Net to encourage thinking about this stuff in a global fashion. This stuff just isn't as easy or as clean as you want to think it is.
Solar, wind, bio-mass and many other forms of energy production need to be considered in their entirety. Solar panels, for instance, are made of weird heavy metals that originate in the most deplorable mining and smelting conditions. Children and slave labor are often employed and there are no safety or environmental protections. The materials travel across many oceans, through many countries and manufacturing steps to reach the American marketplace, incurring huge carbon footprints. The converted power, if not used immediately, is stored in lead-acid or lithium batteries that originate in the same deplorable mining and processing conditions. When these collection and conversion and storage devices fail, where do they go? Into carefully orchestrated recycling systems or your local landfill?
Hey David - that's an interesting perspective that I, and I would guess, many others have never heard before. Do you have any citation for the information that you posted? For the research minded of us, y'know...
David is correct about the content of solar panels - a lot of harmful and heavy metals go into the manufacture of the panels. But do you know what the safest way to store and remediate these metals from our environment? Scientists have discovered that the safest way to store or dispose of these metals are sandwhiched between many layers of high strength glass. Want to guess how they make solar panels? So, not only are solar panels one of the safest way to keep these materials, but they are being put to good use as well. (Source here is a lecture I personally attended by speaker and world renowned architect, Wiliam McDonough). And solar panels can be completely recycled as technological nutrients. Source: the book Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough.
So, yes, while I acknowleddge that there are many things about green or sustainable design that are trade offs or not perfect - I'd still put my house up against any criteria, test, or competition. I have only had one positive electric bill since March - and that was the bill for August-September when we were consistently above 90-degrees, and the bill was $8. All of our other bills were credits from our local utility company ranging from $40 to $60 each month.
If more homes focused on distributed generation of electricity and installed solar panels for even part of their electricity system, we may be able to prevent power companies from building another coal fire power plant. (Also you may be interested in the recent court ruling that forces a coal burning utility in OH, KY, IN, WV to pay billions of dollars in damages due to acid rain caused by pollution from their facilties). Do a search at Yahoo news. For any more info, please, just ask! Thanks.