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Going Solar: When is it Not Just Sexy, but Also Savvy?

by Adam Neugebauer
March/April 2010
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/going-solar-when-is-it-not-just-sexy-but-also-savvy/5019272/

One significant undertaking my industry faces is to tame the easily-distracted, broad-spectrum surge of interest in all things ‘green’ and direct dollars and resources towards high-efficacy ends. While headway is being made, we continue to witness instances where flashy projects funnel limited dollars away from less snazzy, but higher bang-for-the-buck opportunities.

Solar energy products fit into this struggle " not so much as a waste of money (for they do produce quantifiable, fairly reliable energy savings), but as a distraction from lower-hanging fruit. This is not to say that solar energy technologies have no place in the development of net-zero energy buildings " buildings that annually generate at least as much energy as they consume. On the contrary, solar technologies will be vital towards this end goal. In fact, for virtually any practical net-zero design there will be a tipping point at which solar energy will be the most cost-effective means to offset remaining energy loads. The critical point to understand is that applying these solar products too early in the process (before this tipping point) can be far from cost effective.

Before we jump into the thick of this issue, however, it is important to clarify what is meant by ‘solar.’ After ...

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