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Ten years ago, Jay Shafer downsized to an 89-square-foot house and reinvented both his lifestyle and career in the process.
Lowe’s, the home-improvement chain, will begin selling do-it-yourself, 40-pound solar panels nationwide for $895 each.
The panels are designed by Akeena Solar, Inc., based in Los Gatos, Calif. Akeena says installation is doable for a novice, but applying for government and utility permits might take some expertise.
“You put solar panels on your roof without a permit, bad things (will) happen to you,” said Jeff Wolfe, CEO of solar installer groSolar. “The utility could shut off the power.”
Akeena panels produce 175 watts of electricity, enough to power a flat-screen TV. Most purchasers will want more than one. Lowe’s also is offering software that allows homeowners to use their home computers to monitor the performance of each panel.
Source: Associated Press, Chris Kahn (12/10/2009)
In Florida, Nevada, and Texas, residents in some communities are under pressure to reduce the amount of lawn in their yards. By the end of the year, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to expand its WaterSense conservation program, which certifies new homes that use less water, including those that limit the amount of turfgrass the home has. The lawn and garden industry is opposed to the idea, calling the EPA plan “arbitrary” and “not supported by science.”
“Without grass, a home would be bland, and if a home is bland, its value drops,” says Greg Kullman, resident and former president of Silverthorn, a golf-course community in Hernando County, Fla., where 90 percent of the area is covered by grass.
Deidre Irwin, water conservation coordinator for the St. Johns Water Management District in Florida, supports his position. “Our agency has a strong position that it isn’t turfgrass that wastes water but the irrigation and the wrong species in the wrong place,” Irwin says.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, Gwendolyn Bounds