Sunday, November 7, 2010

Historic French Quarter Resists Going Green

In New Orleans, alternative energy innovations sometimes conflict with preservation goals

November 07, 2010 - From the days when President Jimmy Carter pushed for an energy policy focused on conservation, Glade Bilby says he has looked for ways to cut his own power consumption, an effort that gained momentum when he began renovations on his three-story brick townhouse in the 600 block of Esplanade Avenue nearly two decades ago.

For starters, the 58-year-old Bilby has installed a rain-water collection system and added a foil radiant barrier in his attic, to help cut down on heat loss during the winter and keep heat out in the summer.

Now that solar technology has improved, Bilby is seeking to take advantage of the state and federal tax credits being offered to homeowners this year for making energy efficiency improvements. He wants to place photovoltaic panels, which transform sunlight into electric power, on the roof of his home, at a cost of about $50,000.

While local housing officials and renewable energy advocates say that solar and other energy-efficient technologies are beginning to take hold in the rebuilding city, Bilby's project would be the first of its kind in the French Quarter, which is considered the "final frontier" for renewable efforts. {read rest}

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