Before the housing crisis there were an incredible number of new housing starts, housing tracts were going up all over the place in California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and Texas. Yes, in many other states as well, but those are the ones that really took off. During that time the government was calling for more energy efficiency, and wanted those homes to be better equipped with insulation, dual paned windows, and properly dressed door jams to hold in the heat or air conditioning depending on which time of the year it was. Okay so let’s talk about this for second shall we?
It turns out that each time the price of the house was increase due to these extra or energy efficiency attributes, it made it tougher for people to qualify for loans to buy the homes. This meant fewer people could buy homes, meaning fewer people could realize their American dream – this notion that owning a home signifies that you have arrived and are successful in life. It also helps with buy-in because you have a vested interest in the country, and your community.
If you’ll recall originally only landowners were allowed to vote because they had a vested interest, skin in the game, and something to lose if the leadership of the country didn’t run things correctly. Homeownership is good for America, and it is a good feeling for those who can feel as if they own a piece of our great nation. As I say, it was a mistake to mandate that homes be outfitted with more insulation, or energy-saving components because it prevented people from homeownership.
Unfortunately, I don’t think we learned our lesson, and we seem to be doing the same thing again. Let me give you an example. The Mercury News in San Jose had an interesting article recently, posted on May 30, 2012 titled; “California poised to require ‘solar ready roofs’ on new homes and buildings,” by Dana Hull, which stated;
“The California Energy Commission is approving energy efficiency standards for new residential & commercial buildings which will take effect Jan. 1, 2014. A host of common-sense standards designed to save energy, from insulating hot-water pipes to making sure that air conditioner installations are inspected for sufficient air flow. The standards would also require new homes & commercial buildings to have “solar ready roofs” — a mandatory requirement that will be a boon for the state’s growing rooftop solar industry.”
What I find unfortunate about this is we’ve just slapped huge tariffs on Chinese made solar panels and solar cells. This means the solar panels cost more, and therefore the return on investment takes longer. This means fewer people will be buying solar panels, and yet they will have to pay the additional $1500 per all the hardware and hookups, and electrical fittings wired into the roof on their new home purchases. This again increases the cost to buy a home, and it seems that it’s just bad policy.
Yes, the other day I was having a conversation at Starbucks about how difficult it was to wire up a pre-existing house whether it be for fiber optics, electrical outlets, additional piping, or anything else. Ripping holes in the wall can cost a tremendous amount of money, and it’s much cheaper to do it while the house is being built. Nevertheless, it still costs money, and how many of those homes will ever have solar panels, but the individual in the house will be paying on the loan for the hardware which was installed, equipment that they will never use. How does this help our citizens?
At some point we have to stop treating alternative energy as some sort of a new religion as we have with global warming. We need to do things for the right reasons, and not mandate new regulations on every single industry to create some preordained utopian society. In the future rooftops may not be wired for electrical systems for solar panels because solar panels may be paint coatings with electrodes sticking out where the energy then gets transferred and goes wireless to a receptor, or receiver.
That’s the future of this technology, so why build homes right now with attachments per the current technology, which is changing rapidly and will not be the same in five years, but those homes will be standing for probably 50 years. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.