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The practice of saving energy was not invented yesterday

By Tom Glendinning
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - Saving energy is a good thing. It was not, however, invented yesterday or with the advent in the use of the acronym LEED. When light bulbs were first invented, people turned them off at the end of their use. Air conditioners, now considered a first amendment right, were set to the highest temperature that was comfortable.

The green subsidies for installing efficient NEW technologies in homes and businesses are increasing energy costs, not reducing them. The program for green jobs to refit buildings with the same has not produced jobs. Germany's green programs have blocked innovations and increased Kw/hour costs.

My main complaint on government management of this purely regulation driven program is the design. Only new buildings and renovations offer discounts on taxes. What about current homes built years ago which are efficient? I get no deduction on my schedule A for my home built in 1976 with passive solar heating, good insulation, landscaping, air circulation and masonry walls meant to reduce cooling needs. Although I can barely pay for increasing LP gas prices, I am confident that my energy costs are less than a conventionally designed home, new or old. (PS - I would like to see our own gas wells providing heating fuel when supplies become thin or when the industry decides to proclaim a shortage, e.g. - 1974.)

A tax deduction for energy per square foot used, or solar design or insulation in place would more fairly induce people to buy and use green. If the Joneses, that ever popular, trend setting American family, had received a line item tax deduction on a worksheet for schedule A, neighbors would be envious and follow suite. But trying to convince a nation going broke that borrowing to buy a new home or renovating their existing one is the only way to get a deduction seems to be whistling in the wind. (But, then again, the president is from the windy city and he must be hopeful. I have no excuse for Congress.) The older homes are the ones needing refitting. They are owned by people who can not or will not buy new.

This deduction should have a worksheet describing installed devices and designs for reducing energy demand, not just for new purchases in a short tax window. The tax program should have continual application, not sunset with the NEW program term. It is treated as a fad, not as an American value if its tax application fades with the bill.

Automobiles are the same. How can a poor family afford a new Prius at $ 20,000.plus based on a savings which will make only three payments a year? Fuel efficient cars were cheaper than the average model when I was coming up. Foreign manufacturers invaded the American market with inexpensive, efficient cars in the 1970's, while we were staking our manufacturing future on horsepower behemoths. My 1960 Fiat 600, which got 50 mpg on a trip in 1969, was cheaper than Chevrolets and Fords of the era. Maybe there is a chance for the auto industry now that Fiat has bought Chrysler. The wisdom of an industry from war torn Europe may provide some better decision making in our country of prima donnas.

 
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The practice of saving energy was not invented yesterday
 
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