Pondering the price of a $0.00 energy bill
In response to the March 15 article, "His energy bill is $0.00": The telling portion of the article is that the $500,000 price tag "was paid for in part with a $250,000 grant from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities," which is a government entity.
Since governments derive their funds from taxes, taxpayers footed the bill for half of this house where Mike Strizki and his wife live. Money taken by the government from taxpayers and awarded to grant recipients is not at all equivalent to contributions by individuals or companies toward a project for building such a house because those individuals and companies give the funds willingly.
Kitty Antonik Wakfer
Casa Grande, Ariz.
Regarding the March 15 article on a New Jersey man who lives in America's first "solar-hydrogen house": Mike Strizki sets an excellent example of how we can start to conserve and use ecofriendly means to power our lives. And while the technology for using hydrogen power has yet to be commercialized, readers should know that it is possible to use solar energy effectively.
Countries located in the tropics enjoy abundant sunshine year-round and can utilize this renewable source of energy to drastically cut their energy bills. In India, moderately priced solar cookers, solar water heaters, and solar panels for lighting are gradually gaining ground. These are not small-scale ventures. Solar panels are being effectively used by large nonprofit institutions in remote areas as an effective alternative to conventional sources of electricity.
Using alternative energy on a large scale is not only becoming a reality, but is imperative if we are to counter global warming with the urgency it requires.
In response to the article about the house with the $0.00 energy bill: The $500,000 required to free the house from the power grid doesn't make sense economically because the return on Mike Strizki's investment probably won't happen in his lifetime.
However, if energy costs double or triple and the components of his system are mass-produced, thus reducing capital outlay, then suddenly his system would make sense. Perhaps China could produce the parts at a reasonable price.
The US government could impose an energy tax on power and fuel, and then allow a rebate for efficient systems so that it would make economic sense for people to install them. That way, houses run entirely on hydrogen and/or solar power would become economically viable.
The March 16 Opinion piece by Susan DeMersseman, "Mistakes were made in owning up to mistakes," unmasks the important tactic that some members of the current administration and other public officials have developed in order to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.
It is problematic that people who should accept punishment are not willing to. Admitting that I accept blame for certain actions should mean that I also accept the punishment for those actions.
But that is only half the problem. The other half of the problem is that the appropriate authorities do not respond by imposing a punishment that fits the crime. There seems to be a mentality of the old boys' club, in which people endorse one another's innocence and leave it at that.
Larry Boudreau San Antonio, Tex.
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