Turning Homes Into Self-Sustaining Energy Producers

Emilio Ramirez proposed a single family power plant in Metropolis’s 2009 Next Generation competition.

"Metropolis's 2009 Next Generation competition received scores of entries, from which this year's jury chose one winner and eight runners-up to be recognized in the May issue of the magazine. But there were far more than just nine good ideas in the bunch. The judges also selected 12 "notables"-entries that, for various reasons, fell short of the final selection, but that the jurors felt still deserved recognition.

This week: Emilio Ramirez's proposal, Feeding the Addiction: The Emergence of the Single Family Power Plant, which envisions a low-cost, renewable energy production and delivery system that could turn homes and businesses into self-sustaining energy producers."

Full Story: Next Gen Notables: The Single-Family Power Plant



"Green" Suburbia: Promising and Problematic

To the extent that suburbia exists at all it should take advantage of its capacity to use rooftop solar energy. Such energy, even with conventional panels generally pays for itself over a 10-15 year period if properly subsidized (e.g. as it is in CA). With economies of scale in the production of panels, the cost will likely fall over time.

Solar energy, combined with a plug-in hybrid vehicle is an enticing combination (although since the plug-in would mainly charge at night the benefit is reduced).

Suburbia still forces people into cars and gobbles up inordinate amounts of land, no matter how clean its electricity or transportation fuel is. Thus, the non-environmental drawbacks of driving (crashes, the expense of owning/maintaining a car, the lack of opportunities for exercise in transportation), and some of the environmental drawbacks of suburbia (loss of habitat, more water use) are permanent and intrinsic features of suburbia.

Greening the suburbs is a worthy goal, but challenging the hegemony of suburbs is a worthy goal as well.

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