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Switching To Solar Power — Six Months Later 591

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it-burns-my-eyes dept.
ThinSkin writes "Slashdot readers may remember an article regarding ExtremeTech's Loyd Case's experiences with solar power for the home after one month of usage. During that time six months ago, it sure seemed like a great deal, but the tables have turned significantly once winter approached. While it's no surprise solar power generation is expected to dwindle during the winter, Loyd compares solar power data of the last six months to determine if solar power is still worth the time and money."
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Switching To Solar Power — Six Months Later

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  • by Carik (205890) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:27AM (#26448911)

    There's an important step that this guy missed: cutting consumption. I have a roughly 3000 square foot house, and the most I've used since August '07 is 700kWh in a month... and that was a month when I had visitors for basically the whole month, so we used a lot more power. My average is around 500.

    Now... we don't know how big this guy's house is, or how many people live there. But really... 1,635kWh? That seems pretty excessive for any reasonable house. Maybe if he's got a bunch of servers on all the time, and has electric heat, and lives in a cold climate, but it still seems high.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:29AM (#26448953)

    also depends on how well insulated your house is (a cheaper improvement with good benefits if it is not done well). Heating and especially ac can take alot of energy (especially if you set it high for that really comfortable temperature).

  • Sun angle (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Peter Simpson (112887) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:39AM (#26449137)

    Given the 40 degree difference in the sun angle between Summer and Winter, would it make sense to change the tilt on the panels to optimize the angle for the two seasons?

    Maybe a screw jack could lift the top of the panels as winter approaches, then lower them again as you move into summer?

    It's not like snow or ice would be a problem and you could probably get the screw jack from an old satellite dish (or Boeing surplus!).

    Just a thought...

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:44AM (#26449229) Homepage

    Let alone the man did it half assed.

    I used to have a solar home. Step 1 is knowing your EXACT load before you start.

    Step 2 is to understand the solar rating for your location, then cut it by 1/4 and use that number.

    The man did neither. he should have a 35-50% excess for summer and have a 10-20% lacking in winter. Supplement that with a single decent wind generator and your intertie.

    Finally your biggest step to solar is you REDUCE YOUR CONSUMPTION. We bought all low energy appliances and got rid of silly crap like plasma TV's and huge servers. you have to change your lifestyle or have a never ending supply of money to buy 4X the solar gear than you think you need.

    It's a half assed install that was doomed from day one, and now he's bitching about it.

  • Re:Insightful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumRiff (120817) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:52AM (#26449391)

    Yes the panels will drop in cost, but you are forgetting that Electric bills are going to go UP in price over the same time. 10 years from now, he can generate the same amount of power, and save more money than he does today.

    Of course, those that wait will have a MUCH quicker payback, since their equipment goes down in cost, and rates go up. But then again, you probably don't own a computer, do you? Cause there is always one that is faster/cheaper coming in another few months. Sometimes you just gotta jump in.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`Satanicpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:52AM (#26449397) Journal

    I'd be surprised if he didn't make 20 times the average salary per year as well.

    News Flash: Rich people consume more resources per capita! News at 11:00!

    Nothing like being pro-environment; doesn't matter how much you invest in environmental initiatives...if you don't live in a shack eating raw organic food and making your own clothes, you're a hypocrite.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:58AM (#26449539)
    No one expects Al Gore to live like a monk. But using *20 TIMES* more electricity than the average person and then going around lecturing *us* about conservation?!?!?!? I mean, Jesus Christ, that's like a guy telling you not to liter as he's dumping a barrel of toxic waste into the lake.
  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:58AM (#26449541) Journal
    Actually, I seem to recall that all of his energy is now pretty much offgrid; solar and wind combined with a geo-thermal HVAC.
  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drunkennewfiemidget (712572) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:00AM (#26449565) Homepage

    It's a half assed install that was doomed from day one, and now he's bitching about it.

    Of course, technology marches on, and there will no doubt, with higher efficiency panels available at lower prices in the coming years. Alas, that's the price one pays for being an early adopter. But when I look at my power bill, I still have a nice, warm feeling inside.

    ... he is?

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@ubermMONET00.net minus painter> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:03AM (#26449605) Homepage Journal

    Clearly, Al Gore should be living in a small, average house, or perhaps an apartment if that more matches the average person, just so he can be close to the national average of electricity use regardless of his actual net worth or funds.

    Oh wait, that's stupid.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:13AM (#26449819)

    I'd be surprised if he didn't make 20 times the average salary per year as well.

    Woot! Rich people deserve to be treated differently! I bet you're a hypocrite.

    News Flash: Rich people consume more resources per capita! News at 11:00!

    Um, no. News flash, high income people do not have to consume more than middle or lower income people. In fact, the oppose should be true. Those with more disposable income can, in fact, invest in more costly "green" products. They can afford that Prius. They can fully renovate their homes to use Geothermal and for greater solar efficiency as well as afford to replace crappy windows with high efficiency windows.

    Nothing like being pro-environment; doesn't matter how much you invest in environmental initiatives..

    Particularly when said environmental initiatives benefits (conveniently) a COMPANY HE OWNS!

    Al Gore, the guy who's schemed the world and profits heavily from it. Maybe Obama should start Windfall Profit Taxing Al Gore?

    To think I once voted for this guy.

    Of course, you should put "irony" in your Sig, if you keep posting like this.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by trjonescp (954259) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:15AM (#26449871) Homepage
    The associated press reports 12 times the national average, and for the area (cold climate = more heating) and size of the home (its four times larger than the national average and acts as an office space as well as home) it is actually on par. He also pays a premium to get his energy from renewable sources like solar, wind, etc...
  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hansonc (127888) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:16AM (#26449885) Homepage

    Can't we all agree that at the very least if he's going to fly around the country and world lecturing people about cutting their carbon foot print he should at least fly commercial and not take his giant carbon foot print private plane?

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`Satanicpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:22AM (#26450009) Journal

    Yea, yea, powering a 10,000 square foot house that functions as the home and office of a guy worth in excess of 100,000,000 dollars...How dare he use a ton of electricity!

    Seriously.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by willworkforbeer (924558) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:26AM (#26450093)
    Answer: Make solar collectors look like DirecTV dishes.
  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:31AM (#26450193)

    Compare the power usage, not the price. 1,635kWh is probably more expensive where he lives compared to where you live (right next to a large hydro power plant...)

  • by clonan (64380) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:42AM (#26450409)

    And it increases the sale value of the house...therefore the payback is 12.5 years or until they sell the house, whatever is sooner.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by inviolet (797804) <slashdot.ideasmatter@org> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:43AM (#26450441) Journal

    The whole thing is disgusting to me though. We're not living in any semblance of a free country when your neighbors can tell you what things you can and can't have on your property simply because they don't look pretty.

    If you equate 'free' with "allowed to create negative externalities", then yes, we are not living in any semblance of a free country. But your lost externality is a necessary part of preventing all those other externalities that you would hate, such as loud music.

    That said, I agree that 'prettiness' is a difficult externality to quantify, and enforcement of non-quantifiable things is perilous.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by j79zlr (930600) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:51AM (#26450647) Homepage
    Every degree on your thermostat will save you about 3%. If you don't have a 7-day programmable thermostat, get one with 4 states, wake, leave, return and sleep. Increase the sleeping and leave temps to 85degF and then set to 78degF for the other periods. They are less than $100 and would pay for itself in a few months.

    Depending on the orientation (North, etc) of the windows, replacing inefficient single panes with double panes that have some reflective properties that can lower the solar gain significantly. With the economy in shambles, you can get construction work done at a great discount. Depending on the number of windows you need done, you can get them for about $300-$600 a window.
  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lysergic.acid (845423) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:54AM (#26450695) Homepage

    do you live in an apartment or a house? the author lives in a house, so that immediately makes their power needs much greater than say a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment. the author also states:

    Our power usage is unusually high for a typical, four person nuclear family. A big part of that is because I have a PC lab and network in the basement. Both my wife and I work out of the house much of the time, with her time almost 100% in the home office. Plus, we have two teenage girls and a pretty beefy HDTV and home audio setup in the family room.

    The net result is annual power consumption in the Case house of 17,400kW hours. That will go down a bit--probably about 5-10% for each girl when our daughters head off to college.

    here in Southern California our tiny 2-bedroom apartment easily costs well over $100 a month to keep reasonably cool (80 degrees) during the summer. part of this is probably due to the building's old AC system (it was just upgraded 2 weeks ago, but we haven't really used it yet), but it is also partly due to the side of the building our unit resides on. also, for whatever reason my room is usually about 7~8 degrees hotter than the rest of the apartment, so to get my room down to a tolerable temperature the rest of the apartment needs to be cooled down even more.

    heating is cheap compared to cooling, which can use a ton of electricity. and the greater the volume of space you need to cool, the greater your power expenditure. it would be silly to compare the electric bill in an apartment unit in NY to that of a house of California.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:01PM (#26450873)

    What does his net value have to do with how much resources he consumes as an individual human being? I guess I missed his documentary "Why Americans Should Conserve--Unless, of Course, They're Rich."

    I'm a Democrat, but even I know a blowhard hypocrite when I see one. Just because he would have made a better President than Bush (joining an illustrious group there that includes several species of closely-related primates) doesn't mean he still isn't a scumbag politician.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LoverOfJoy (820058) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:09PM (#26451031) Homepage
    What if I lived there first? They are free to move when/if I decide to put up my satellite dish and they decide they don't like it.
  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:12PM (#26451113)

    You're right, and I already choose not to live in those areas. However, it's still insane for any property owner to have to submit to such things. That's almost akin to saying that the Chinese don't really have any problems with their freedom because they can simply leave if they want to.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`Satanicpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:13PM (#26451131) Journal

    His point is that you should try to live carbon-neutral, not that you should live like a caveman. He pays a premium for his power so that a portion of it has to come from renewable resources, and he puts money in to carbon offset funds. That's more than I do, and my bill is 1/10th of his.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sleetan (679171) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:14PM (#26451139)
    Clearly, Al Gore's habits should be ignored as the leader of the conservation movement. Being a public figure shouldn't cast any doubt on his message and people are trying to polute his agenda while he sends a do as I say not as I do message.

    I'm sure if people took into consideration that he makes 20x more than anyone else and thus should have a right to pollute 20x more than anyone else or consume 20x more than anyone else they'd understand that this in no way negates his right to tell us all what to do to save his world.

    Oh wait, that's stupid.
  • by Firethorn (177587) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:14PM (#26451155) Homepage Journal

    How dare he use a ton of electricity!

    Notice that we aren't complaining about the energy usage of Bill Gates's house. That's because Bill hasn't made quite the campaign on carbon control and global warming. While flying around to summits in his private plane.

    You could argue that his energy bills should be lower, after all, he's gone much of the time.

    Basically, Al Gore is rich enough to actually reduce his footprint; but didn't until people made an issue of it. Even then, I remember reading that after energy saving renovations his electricity bill went up compared to the year before.

    He's asking us to make sacrifices; shouldn't he lead the way?

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SparkleMotion88 (1013083) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:22PM (#26451341)

    We're not living in any semblance of a free country when your neighbors ...

    We have a free society. That is, society is free to do whatever it wants, including taking away rights from individual members of that society. Our society is free, but individuals within that society are not.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CodeBuster (516420) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:24PM (#26451373)

    We're not living in any semblance of a free country when your neighbors can tell you what things you can and can't have on your property simply because they don't look pretty.

    You could always put up the solar panels anyway and then publish their fight to get your 'unsightly' solar panels taken down in your blog and on the local news. Sometimes a little public shame can go a long way towards changing people's attitudes and positions. Nobody likes to be the 'bad guy' in a public news story.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BCGlorfindel (256775) <klassenk@bra[ ]nu.ca ['ndo' in gap]> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:27PM (#26451463) Journal


    Clearly, Al Gore should be living in a small, average house, or perhaps an apartment if that more matches the average person, just so he can be close to the national average of electricity use regardless of his actual net worth or funds.

    Oh wait, that's stupid.

    If he's gonna promote agreements like the Kyoto Accord then yes, he should. If he expects the wealthy countries to be more like the average why shouldn't wealthy individuals?

    It's not stupid, it's hypocritical.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:28PM (#26451509)

    It's the whole "hypocrisy" argument that annoys me, nothing more. He tells others to conserve, but while some of his properties use "green", his grid usage is still an order of magnitude more than, say, mine.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:32PM (#26451611)

    OK, so it's comparable--to other 10,000-square-foot houses. Even with office space, why do two people need a house that big? Gore's huge on telling everybody else to downsize, to conserve--while it's great that he's buying some electricity from "green" sources, wouldn't having a smaller house be setting a better example?

    Or are tiny houses just for us peasants?

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:42PM (#26451825)
    I live not far from Nashville and can assure you that there is NOTHING even remotely comparable about his energy usage and mine, even adjusting for house size.
  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Calinous (985536) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:45PM (#26451875)

    Install them at a higher angle - so as to produce most of the energy in the winter, and not in the summer. This should solve the snow problem quickly

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amuro98 (461673) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:46PM (#26451933)

    I agree it's not worthless, but people need to understand that the average ROI on a solar panel system is somewhere between 12-15 years. The panels themselves, however, are only rated to last 20 years.

    I keep hearing about breakthroughs in solar power that are "just around the corner" that would bring the cost of a home system down from $15k to under $10k, and the ROI down to under 5 years. However, it's been about 5 years since I heard about such things and I'm still waiting.

    Meanwhile, I have to wonder why more companies haven't tiled their roofs with solar panels? Google did it to their headquarters, mainly as a publicity stunt, but figures they'll cut their power usage during the day by about 30%. Putting panels on businesses makes more sense because they're in operation when the panels are at their most productive. It probably won't zero out their energy usage, as a home-based system will, but it would be a big help.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:05PM (#26452281) Homepage Journal
    The 7-day thermostat is a life saver. In my apartment, I've got electric baseboard heating. So, that up-front, is a bit more than oil. My electric went down about $100/month when I installed the programmable thermostats.

    I used to try to turn up and down the thermostats manually, but I was never perfect, and it was uncomfortable to wake up and shower with it so cold. Now with the programmable thermostats, it's nice and warm for my morning shower, and then cold all day while I'm at work!

    It also helps that it was electric heat- my old system was on/off rollercoaster heat. Heat till it's hot. Turn off till it's not. My new thermostats give percentages of the power to slowly ease back into the right temperature as it approaches. It will only turn on 20% as the temp dips, to keep a steady temp. Overall, much more energy efficient. Unfortunately- still costs $400/month in the winter.
  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:14PM (#26452415) Homepage Journal

    He does fly by regular carrier. He does not own a private jet.

    That's not to say that he never, under any circumstances, flies in a private plane. When he does he buys carbon offsets -- not ideal of course, but the best you can do under the circumstances.

    One of the Achilles' heels of conservative ideology is the inability to distinguish between practicality and expediency. It's always more expedient to travel by private plane. It's sometimes practical.

    Cindy McCain got a lot of heat by saying that private plane was the only way to get around Arizona. The liberal reaction was the same kind of BS you're spouting here. Of course, she didn't literally mean you couldn't get from Phoenix to Flagstaff without flying, but as public figures the McCains do have to do a great deal of travel over a rather large state. As a Senator, John McCain spends most of his time in Washington, and if flying in a private plane means he gets to see more constituents, it's a sensible and pragmatic choice because it maximizes his productivity.

    It's like the difference between driving a one ton pickup truck because you're a rancher and need to get feed out to your cattle through the snow, and driving the same kind of truck as a commuter vehicle. Environmentalists don't think it is morally wrong for a rancher to drive an F320. They don't think it's morally wrong for a cement truck to have a 400 horsepower engine and get 6MPG. Individuals commuting in a vehicle that got 6MPG would be a different thing.

    As an environmentalist, I'm not even against sports cars. I'm just against sports cars as commuter vehicles. If you enjoy driving your Ferrari Enzo on the track at 8MPG, that's fine by me. But maybe you might want to look at an Audi A5 as your regular commuting vehicle.

  • by lupine (100665) * on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:20PM (#26452517) Journal

    Solar Panels provide the most power at a time when we pay peak rates for electricity. This means if you feed power back into the grid during the middle of the day the power company should pay you a higher rate(.14 per kwh).

    Most people are out of the house during these hours and household consumption is relatively low(.10 per kwh).

    So if his power is priced based on time of day, and he doesnt use a lot of peak power, he could use a smaller solar power installation(4kwh) and power his house daily using mostly off peak power(5kwh) and end up with an electric bill near zero.

    And you don't have to pay for batteries.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fyrie (604735) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:21PM (#26452521)

    I hit $290 for my December energy bill (gas + electricity) In Minnesota. My home is from the 50s and still has the original windows which is probably a big factor. The long stretches of below 0 we've had haven't helped either.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BlackSnake112 (912158) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:23PM (#26452559)

    More insulation does help though. Also blocking/covering the windows in summer helps lower the heat input.

    If you are lucky enough to be building your house, make sure to get 2X6 (or 2X8) construction in the exterior walls. The extra insulation will pay for itself very quickly in lower heating and cooling bills. I know a new development in MD where this is proving true. There are two houses, same model, same layout, and both having southern exposures. The two houses are 500 feet away from each other so the same area. Both houses are all electric with a heat pump for the second story and regular AC unit for the first story. The heat is oil forced air. The oil is only used for heating not for hot water. Both houses have the same make model and size heaters, AC, and heat pump units. The only difference is one house has 2X6 exterior walls and the other has 2X4 exterior walls.

    The 2X6 house uses 40-50 gallons of oil a year. The oil company cannot believe it. The 2X4 house uses 200 gallons a year. Not bad but higher then the 2X6 house. Electric bills with no heat or AC running both houses are the same (within $5-$10 of each other). During the summer there is a difference. The 2X6 house is $200-$250 a month. The 2x4 house is $400-$450 a month. Both houses have two people living there full time. The 2X4 guy asked and matched the temp settings of the 2X6 guy. So the temps are not higher in the 2x4 house. The 2X4 guy is sort of pissed for opting to save a little in the building cost and not use 2X6 in the exterior walls. He would have recouped the cost in the first year.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ktappe (747125) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:28PM (#26452657)

    are tiny houses just for us peasants?

    Why is it so many conservatives go on "Gore vs. the peasants" raps online but when they go into the voting booth they consistently choose the party that screws the peasants?

  • by BCGlorfindel (256775) <klassenk@bra[ ]nu.ca ['ndo' in gap]> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @02:02PM (#26453237) Journal


    Al Gore's carbon footprint should be measured against people with similar incomes, not against the average Joe.

    No, it shouldn't. If Al Gore insists on promoting things like the Kyoto Accord that measure country's carbon footprints independently of income, then he should expect the same on an individual basis. Anything less is total hypocrisy.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonbryce (703250) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @02:21PM (#26453593) Homepage

    I think the main problem is that American houses are built to the sort of standards that garden sheds are built to elsewhere in the world. My electric bill is around £37 per month - no heating or air conditioning, and my gas bill for heating and hot water is about £20 per year.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by _ivy_ivy_ (1081273) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @02:35PM (#26453845)

    Realize that this is a regional phenomenon that results from the significant climatic differences across the US. In a place like FL, you might see a maximum indoor/outdoor temperature differential of 20C, and an average difference of 10C. The inclusion of double pane windows is likely to only have a small impact upon the overall energy efficiency of the house.

    In other places, you're looking at a max differential of 60C. Here, such windows are both a necessity and a requirement.

    It would be similar to requiring that homes in the Netherlands be equipped with tornado shelters or hurricane shutters. It would cost a lot with little benefit.

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by InsertCleverUsername (950130) <slashdot@nospAm.rrusson.fastmail.fm> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @02:41PM (#26453923) Homepage Journal

    That's right folks, you heard it here on /. If you don't renounce all your worldly possessions and spend the rest of your life helping the poor of Calcutta, you can't take a moral stand on ANYTHING! That would be hypocrisy!!! (If you're a simple-minded, black-and-white thinker.)

  • Re:$400 a month? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zoney_ie (740061) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @04:25PM (#26455741)

    Here in Ireland, double glazing is used as standard now. However, in Dublin at least, there are no rules on insulation, so despite fitting double glaze windows, the crazy builders/developers are allowed to build single-wall buildings with a simple damp-seal and plasterboard on the interior. No attic insulation either. Also our builders/plumbers haven't a clue about properly designing a heating system, and work on an ad-hoc basis of randomly sticking in a few radiators around the place in an ineffectual manner and plumbing them in such a way that they barely work, with overpowered gas boilers that consume gas like anything to very little effect.

    And yet rather than tackle such pathetic building standards (other regions of the country do have double-walled insulated buildings) our fanatical Green Party are insistant on focussing instead on having us all dwell in a netherworldish CFL-lit glow as they scrap ordinary light bulbs (you know, the non mercury-containing kind that don't make as much money for light bulb manufacturers).

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