This may be a non sequitur for the Train Wreck blog, but this stuff drives me nuts, and I can't resist ranting about it.
Check out Title 24, Part 6, of the California Code of Regulations: California's Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings. On second thought, don't bother. Reading that garbage will fry your brain.
I don't know how many zillions of pages this building code is, but the latest hundred pages or so have strict requirements for new home lighting. Every room in the house, and outdoors as well, has been blessed with specific requirements for high-efficiency lighting and motion sensors.
That's not all, mind you. There are also requirements for HVAC (heating ventilating air conditioning), water heating, insulation, and believe it or not, how much window area a house can have.
And all this stuff adds cost. No big deal, right? It's not as if building a house in California is expensive or anything.
OK, fine, whatever. So legislatures and lawyers have to do something with their time, right? Well, it's not that simple. You know what really happens? Get this. The electrician installs this stuff, the inspector signs off on it, and then the electrician swaps it all out for the stuff the homeowner wanted to begin with.
As ludicrous as that sounds, it happens every day. And you know what? I don't blame anybody for doing it. Who wants to spend a fortune building a house and then have all this useless crap in it? Or worse still, try to sell it that way.
Still, this practice does raise several pointed questions:
Since when do we legislate how we live our lives in this country? (Sorry, I just couldn't let that one go.)
Who do you think makes money off these "green" devices that end up in the garbage?
Is the green movement really the greed movement in disguise?
And finally, are we going green or just faking it?
Of course these questions are rhetorical, not to mention cynical. And if you dwell on them long enough you'll go out of your mind. Knowing full well that the lawyers are somehow making money off this whole thing doesn't help, either.
Yes, we are overly dependent on foreign oil. But that's because the so-called environmentalist lobby stopped our nuclear energy program in its tracks I don't know how many decades ago. Again, the lawyers.
How about global warming? I don't know, how about global warming? Is there such a thing? Is it our fault? Can we or should we be doing anything about it?
I like to think I'm a rational man who believes in the scientific method. I've heard all the debates from both sides, and I can't get past all the polarized rhetoric to make heads or tails out of it.
All I know is polluting is bad and we shouldn't do it so much. Naive, I know, but that's all I've got.
So here we are, having worked and paid taxes our entire lives, just so politicians, lobbyists, environmentalists and lawyers (or maybe they're all the same thing) can tell us exactly how to live, work and drive. These radical environmentalists--or whoever it is that lobbies for all this crappy legislation--have us coming and going.
Well, here's what I'd like to see. I'd like to see all the legislation, the lobbies and the partisan politics taken out of the picture so we can let business be business. I'd like to see entrepreneurs invent green technology and VCs fund it. I'd like to see companies compete, build nuke plants, build alternative energy plants, do whatever the heck they want.
I'd like to drive any car I can afford. When prices at the pump skyrocket, oil companies make a bundle and we all go out and buy hybrids. When they go down, oil companies take it in the shorts and there's a Hummer in every garage.
I'd like to build and live in a house that has the lighting, heating and windows that suit me, and I'd like to do it without having to cheat the system because the legislation is overbearing and ridiculous. When new lighting, glass, solar power and any other kind of innovation becomes cool and cost effective, I'll buy it because I'll save money in the long run and I think efficiency is smart.
That's called market capitalism. It works fine just the way it is. And politicians, lobbyists, legislatures and lawyers do nothing but slow it down and screw it up.