Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Renewable energy in schools

described here.
I'm all for the govt leading the charge on showing renewables and leading from the front and i think schools are an excellent place to start - i think most of us can remember at least once when a 6 year old reminded us to 'make it click', it just seems a little more obvious when a primary schooler says it ;-)

Anyway, i hope the social studies (not entirely sure what SS has to do with renewables) and science teachers don't just espouse the benefits of solar panels as 'good' and not solar panels as 'evil'. the debate is far more subtle than that.
for instance - where did the silicon come from to make the solar panels? how much energy was used (via carbon) to make (and transport) the silicon that you have used to stay 'green'. i don't have any numbers but i suspect that solar panels dig themselves a hole of several years worth of carbon emmissions before they start to go into credit. having said that, they're solid state devices with bugger all failure mechanisms so they should last for decades. i think a school would be the perfect place to invest in the future like that - after all, they're already investing in the most important part of our collective future anyway...
the other side of the equation = conservation, so i hope that the schools involved are serious about things like lighting, insulation and dynamic management - there's lots of scope for savings that aren't thought about.

and why is Genesis helping out? their business is to sell kWh, not deny themselves a customer. i suspect (and by suspect, feel free to subsitute the words 'am certain') that this is being billed under the advertising/marketing budget code. Quick question to any Genesis shareholders (ha!) : what is the ratio of your R&D:advertising budgets? Anything less than 1 is a green wash and i'm guessing yours is probably about 0.00001

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