Solar Power – Dwell Magazine

I picked up this month’s Dwell because the front cover read "Modern Living on a Budget" and I really wanted and hoped they would explain how to do that. Most of the time their magazine is filled with pictures of beautiful rooms that lead out to well-tended back gardens or a simple walk way to the beach. These rooms are filled with choice pieces of furniture and do not include people, books, shoes or any other sign of life. I’m being unfair but only slightly.

In this issue, they had a whole section on solar energy. I read about passive solar setup, which relies upon clever building techniques to cool/heat a room and active solar, which uses expensive PV (photovoltaic panels) but allows you  to use the grid as a storage system. One of the homes the article featured was in Austin; I think Dwell loves Austin as it always seem to pop up. What was interesting is that architect/builder used  "City of Austin Rebate Program" to slash the cost of his active solar system in half. Wow!  So, I checked in on Boulder’s rebate program and here is the rebate:

The rebate is approximately 16% of the City sales tax paid for 2006 and
approximately 15% for 2007.

Not quite as impressive as Austin’s program but not bad.

The magazine also had a list of impractical solar goods you can buy and use to impress other modern living folks. I liked the enamel paint that can cool the surface of a house by 10 degrees.

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