Image from Wikimedia CommonsBeing green isn't easy, just as Kermit said. We are not the most green household, far from it. But it is not for lack of desire, or even for lack of motivation, it's that it is hard work and there is little incentive. I suspect we are not the only Americans that feel that way.
Why is that?
I won't speak to why recycling is so hard, other than to mention that something that you have to spend more time doing, and pay extra for (as is the case in many munincipalities), isn't likely to win a lot of converts in the US, that's just how we Americans are.
I won't speak to why fuel efficient cars and hybrids don't have a larger share of the US market already (although this is growing) except to mention that at present, most vehicles of this type don't make economic sense yet. (note, my current vacation is the first chance I've had to drive a Prius and I think I'm in love... it just needs a way bigger battery. But I digress)
No, those are large topics and I'll leave further discussion of them out of this post except to say that they are hard problems. Make them easy, anyone, and people will change habits. However some people (those more concerned with economics and practicality instead of ideology) there will be no change in habit before they're easy.
Green electricity is another hard problem. So, let me tell you about a nifty outfit I learned about called SolarCity. (as with anything I mention, disclaimers apply, my opinion only, do your homework, don't take my word for it, etc. etc.) This company, one of several started by Elon Musk, of PayPal fame and fortune, is trying to make solar electricity easy, especially for residences.
Putting aside the engineering and efficiency problems that need improving (and which are being addressed by many researchers), a very big problem with solar is how daunting of a project it is. As their website outlines, there are permits to obtain, construction to oversee, financing concerns, agreements with the power company to worry about, ongoing maintenance, and eventual replacement of parts, and a host of other concerns. Much hassle.
SolarCity's approach is to be a bundled provider, their PowerStation product is more or less turnkey, as it includes all the componentry, the photovoltaic solar panels, inverters, electric interconnects and metering, and ancillary hardware, and more importantly, all the paperwork, needed for a residential installation. They offer a purchaseable installation in PowerStation, as well as a leasable option in SolarLease which reduces the upfront cost. The only problem I have? They're not yet in our area, so far it's a California only operation.
There is a significant fraction of the population that will only go green when offered this sort of turnkey approach, in my view.
Does that include you? Are you green already? What's holding you back?
Saturday, April 12, 2008