Solar Technology - Then and Now
I recently came across a small collection of vintage “Solar Architecture” books from an architect friend of mine. They were published at the end of 1977 and the beginning of 1978, when he first began his career in architecture - almost exactly 40 years ago. And they offer a stunning glimpse into our own past.
In 1978, Americans were already waking up to the costs of conventional energy. The calls to action to use more sustainable energy sources were going out even then. The cutting edge at the time was solar heating - the ways that engineers included that technology were inspired, but homes designed from the ground up have always been hard to find, and hard to afford. Solar panels were so niche and expensive (between ten times and five-hundred times as much as today), that they are referred to as space-age technology, a triumph of NASA’s scientific progress.
It’s hard to believe how much that’s changed, and also hard to believe how much that’s stayed the same. Solar photovoltaic cells and wind turbines have become so efficient that they are cheaper than power plants burning gas and coal. It used to only be a dream for people to live in a sustainable home, the kind of thing you could only see in National Geographic. Today, it’s within reach for anyone to make that a reality. At the same time, it woke me up to how easy it is to put off adopting these technologies. These aren’t new problems we’re seeing, they are the same old ones we’ve had for decades. And these aren’t new solutions. We have to take that next step, and actually take action, or else it will never get done. Let’s take it together. Call me at (949) 226-7477 or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org .