I had an interesting conversation at my town’s Green Team meeting last night. One of the members was talking about someone he knows who wants to be able to put solar panels in a remote field but still wants his home credited with the power drawn from them. He doesn’t want the solar panels on his home. He doesn’t find them attractive.
I got to wondering, what will my neighbors think when I do the renovation on my house and put on solar panels? I know they won’t be surprised – they know me pretty well. But will they think the solar panels are an eyesore? Will it bother them? Will it change my image from “that green writer” to “that crazy hippie lady who made our neighborhood ugly?”
Solar panels aren’t the only thing that apparently turn people off. In September, the town of Wayne, New Jersey said no to wind turbines in their backyards.
“When you look out your back door, you don’t want to look at a nuclear power plant, you don’t want to look at a wind turbine,’’ Mayor Christopher Vergano said today. “We are protecting the values of residential properties by keeping them [at] a certain setback.’’
One councilman commented,
“It’s dangerous to put industrial activity in residential zones where it can threaten to destroy property values,” Scuralli said. “People’s homes are probably the biggest investment they will ever make.”
The council also brought in studies that showed that the noise from wind turbines could be a health hazard so their decision wasn’t solely based on aesthetics and fear of devaluing property.
I wonder, would solar panels or a wind turbine really devalue someone’s property? If I were looking for a new home, I would love to find one that was supported by alternative energy. I’d pay more for that.
How do we change the mindset that our property values are more important than the value of the earth that property is part of? How do we get people to say, “I don’t care what the neighbors think. I’m solar paneling my roof?”
This is one of their posts where I’m asking a lot of questions without being able to give a lot of answers. Do you have any?