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Posted by general acct on February 24, 2005, 10:07 pm
Does anyone know of any solar distributers or otherwise who might be willing
to donate solar components for a good cause?  I am writing this inquiry on
behalf of the Habitat for Humanity.  The Habitat is committed to building
energy efficient homes and would like to include solar applications.
Unfortunately they are unable to do so as they cannot find any donated

Any input would be much appreciated.  Thanks.


Posted by nicksanspam on February 25, 2005, 12:03 pm

I might, with serious strings attached.

I've written to Jimmy Carter and spoken with National HFH Green Building
Coordinator Graham Davis and others, to no avail. David Wright's heart is
in the right place (AZ), but I've never run into any Habitat person who
understands physics. Habitat's speakers at the 2003 Sustainable Resources
conference in Boulder talked a lot about Jesus and community spirit but
never mentioned energy in the physical sense.

The Chester County PA group finally flatly told me "we are not interested
in solar heating." I teleponed their architect several times and left a few
business cards on his office door, and he never called back. They build new
houses, but never change the design. They say it's hard enough to get a
volunteer to learn to do one task over and over without asking her to learn
something new. They seem very closed-minded and defensive and risk-averse.

The Norristown PA group is more open to new ideas, but they just rehab
burned-out brick row homes with less solar heating potential than new
construction. HFH understands the life-cycle cost of ownership at the
national level, but local groups seem shortsighted about spending money
up front to save money down the road. Their game is just getting roofs
over peoples' heads, the more the better, given available funds and labor,
with no special concern for energy efficiency.

I don't think that's the problem. "Solar Panels" are expensive, but you
can do a lot with SIPs and homebrew polycarbonate plastic sunspaces and
air heaters and fin-tube pipe and ceiling fans and whole-house fans and
damp slabs and EPDM-lined plywood boxes and greywater heat exchangers,
if you open your minds as well as your hearts.


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