Green energy is the theme of the decade. Home solar systems have been an option for homeowners for the past 40 years or so, but affordability, aesthetics, and just plain motivation were lacking until now. Leave it to California and movie stars to bring the idea of home solar energy to the mainstream market.
Brad Pitt is one of the forerunners of the green energy movement. In the aftermath of Katrina, thousands of homes had to be rebuilt. Brad Pitt started the Make It Right foundation to promote safe, energy-efficient housing that was also affordable.
In the past, solar panels were cost prohibitive and sometimes just downright ugly. The aim of the Make It Right foundation was to build 150 low-cost homes for working class New Orleans residents. Brad Pitt hired the expertise of several architects, including the renowned designer, Frank Gehry to design streamlined, inexpensive housing using green technology. One example of innovative designs used in this project are solar panels as roof shades that double as a covered balcony.
Brad Pitt is not the only well-known public figure to engage in this energy movement. Jimmy Carter caught the attention of the nation back in 1977, when he installed solar panels on the White House. In California, Ed Begley, Jr. epitomizes “green living” in all aspects of his life. His 1600 square foot home is predominantly powered by solar panels.
Another example of California celebrities using their clout to promote solar power is the BP Solar Neighbors program. This project is the brainchild of Ed Norton working in conjunction with BP. Under the program, for every residential solar system purchased by a celebrity, BP will donate a similar system to a low-income family in Southern Los Angeles. This program has been a huge success, and Hollywood stars from Tom Hanks to Alicia Silverstone have jumped on board.
Hopefully, under the influence of California celebrities like Brad Pitt, the rest of the nation will fall into line and start thinking more seriously about solar energy systems for their home. It would be great to see a nation of homes powered exclusively by solar panels, pushing us one step closer to avoiding potential energy shortages in the future.
Photo originally posted to Flickr as http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/352230469/in/photostream/ Brad Pitt