Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Solar Car Palaces to Save the Planet

Solar carport at Addison Road,
Photo by Tom Worthington CC-BY 2022
This is to suggest promoting carports covered with photovoltaic panels (called "Car Palaces"), to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and free up resources to build more accommodation. Currently in Australia, it is common to have houses with one or two car garages built in. As they are built into the house, the same quality of materials intended for people have to be used for cars. Many of these homes then have solar panels installed over the roof cladding. The cladding is commonly tiles, which are difficult to fit solar panels to. The Addison Road Community Center in Sydney has an example of an alternative: a two car solar carport, with charging, built from standard components.

I suggest encouraging, through legislation, marketing, and incentives, homes which have freestanding carports, covered with solar panels. This would have the advantage of lower cost, as the solar panels would provide the roofing. Also the carports could be prefabricated, for quick erection. The carports could also be designed with provision for batteries, electric car charging,  heat pump hot-water system and air conditioner.

The capital, labor, and materials saved could be used to build additional accommodation for the homeless. However, there would need to be regulation, and incentives, to prevent homes simply getting larger. If garages were eliminated, along with underutilized Media Rooms, and spare bedrooms, enough additional accommodation could be built within a few years for all those currently homeless.

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