Friday, May 15, 2009

Home, home on the green

Read the article... my pithy remarks are noted:

Troy -- It was supposed to be a shining example of the green movement -- a completely independent solar-powered house with no gas or electrical hookups.

Seven months ago, officials gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the $900,000 house owned by the city of Troy that was to be used as an educational tool and meeting spot.

But it never opened to the public. And it remains closed.

Frozen pipes during the winter caused $16,000 in damage to floors, and city officials aren't sure when the house at the Troy Community Center will open.

"It's not safe right now, and there's no estimated opening time because it depends on when we can get funding," said Carol Anderson, director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

That surprised the Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Department, which advertised tours of the house for its Tuesday Oakland County Green Summit.

"No, I didn't know anything about it," said Steve Huber, spokesman for county planning.

Bret Rasegnan, planning supervisor for the department, said the solar tours have been removed from the finalized agenda for the summit.

"It is disappointing that we can't tour, but the summit will still be of great value. I don't think it's reflective of the technology."

Lawrence Technological University, with help from DTE, mostly paid for the building. Its students built the 800-square-foot home, which was supposed to be livable year-round, free from the grid and churn out enough solar power to support a home-based business and electric vehicle.

Uh, guys. Do you realize that this 800 sq ft house comes in at $1125.00 per sq ft? I mean even in Obamie world, don't you think that is a bit much?

So what caused the flood?

The city says it was a mechanical problem. University officials heard it differently.

Jeff Biegler, superintendent of parks for the city, said the flooding occurred from a glitch in the heater.

"The system was designed to kick a heater on to keep water from freezing," Biegler said. "The heater drew all reserve power out of the battery causing the system to back down and the pipes froze."

Joe Veryser, an associate dean of architecture at the university, said he heard otherwise.

"What I heard repeatedly was that somebody turned off the breaker during the winter and forgot to turn it back on, which caused the pipes to freeze and then break."

You know, for $900,000 you should be able to install a battery with enough reserve to not deplete its charge. And if that isn't what happened then for $900,000 the design team should have enough fail safe systems designed in that some dumb ass can't pop a breaker and walk off.

And did I mention that the price seems well, a bit high??

I bring all this up only to point out that these are the type of things that happen when you let Government design homes, or anything else... And as the man said, "You aint seen anything yet!"

And as someone who spent some time in Moscow back in the late 60's and saw the results there close up, the man is right.

When it comes to green, "You aint seen nothing yet!"