(from the are-these-people-serious department)
I was taking a quick look through the blogroll this morning when I found an interesting-looking ad on Rod Adams' blog (it's good, go check it out). It was plugging an in-window solar heater - just the thing I think people could use this coming winter! So I clicked through to check it out.
Man, what a disappointment! Rather than capturing sunlight that would otherwise fall on the earth or outside walls and be lost, the so-called heater doesn't bring any new energy indoors at all. It is essentially a black surface in a box, which "is mounted inside your window." All it does is capture sunlight that was coming into your house anyway, and convert it to heat before it can bounce around the room and make things lighter. Oh, and it concentrates the heating effect by the window and no lower than sill-level, rather than letting heat warm the floor toward the center of the room. And last but not least, it's an ugly opaque box that blocks the view out the window.
For the indoor unit (24" by 19-¾", less than 4 square feet) they want $89.95; that's over $28 a square foot for questionably-effective visual pollution. I can see the outdoor unit producing useful heat, but it's even more expensive per square foot. The thing that worries me most is that people will be taken in by the sales pitches for such things, be disappointed with the results, and conclude "Solar is crap". That is an outcome we cannot afford.
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