Diary

An irritating waste of my money

I found this article about the DOE’s Solar Decathalon on Drudge:  http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/solar-decathlons-rainy-start_594112.html

As the article describes the event:

In a press release announcing the competition, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu is quoted as saying, “The Solar Decathlon collegiate teams are showing how clean energy products and efficient building design can help families and businesses reduce energy use and save money…The event challenges talented students to become pioneers of clean energy technology and helps ensure that out nation remains competitive in the workforce of tomorrow.”

So a bunch of college students got a truckload of my tax money to build solar powered toy houses.  What else is new.  That’s not the part that irritated me.  Here’s what was really irksome to me, from one of the contestants, when asked about the cost of his solar house:

Finally, Villegas conceded the price tag came to about $450,000, “which is just parts” since CCNY students did all the labor. Another student from the same team, Yinery Baez, also a fifth year architecture student, said that $500,000 is a more accurate figure, but that they believe the price could be dropped to about $300,000 if it were ever to be mass produced.

Depending on who you asked, the square footage of the home is either 650 (Villegas) or 750 (Baez).

So they’re spending $500,000 to build this house.  Although looking at the house as pictured, what on earth did they spend all that money on?  It looks like a smallish portable classroom, with a rather inelegant solar array plopped on top.  Nothing about the house itself or the array look to be in any way new, or innovative, or groundbreaking.  What makes these morons believe that any developer or modular home manufacturer in their right mind would want to mass produce these things?  Who wants to pay even $300,000 for a 750 square foot box, much less $500,000?  More to the point, how does this show “how clean energy products and efficient building design can help families and businesses reduce energy use and save money”?  This certainly is not a display of efficient building design, and at that cost doesn’t save money.

If they had come up with anything that was actually innovative and (here’s the catch) would sell on the open market, then bring it on.  As it is, what a waste of time, money, and effort.

And they got rained out.  Maybe Al Gore was scheduled to drop in.