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August 10, 2009
Wasting energy to conserve energy
Another example of clumsy, wasteful, harmful consequences from the Stimulus Bill. The bill contained a tax credit in 2009 and 2010 for installing supposedly energy-efficient windows on houses. But Ashlea Ebeling of Forbes explains that the program is wasting money on the wrong windows, thanks to the one-size-fits-all approach of central government regulation. The clumsiness of the centralized approach will cost home owners money and waste energy.
Congress, in its wisdom, overrode them with one national standard in which windows are rated on both their ability to keep heat in and their ability to keep sunshine out. That works fine for, say, the mid-Atlantic, where about the same amount of energy is used for summer cooling and winter heating. But in colder climes the sun's heat is needed for warmth--meaning New Englanders will have to pump up their thermostat if they want a tax-credit window that does a good job at keeping the sun out. In warm states residents don't need windows that excel at trapping heat. "You don't want the same window in the far South and the far North," says Lowell Ungar, director of policy with the Alliance to Save Energy.
More details in Ebeling's article.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky