Plans to install solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House residence were announced last week by Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley.
“President Obama has said the federal government has to lead by example in creating opportunity and jobs in clean energy,” Sutley said in a statement.
This comes more than two decades after President Reagan had a solar water-heating system removed from the White House roof. President Obama will become the first to use solar energy as a means for powering the first family’s White House residence.
An Oakland, Calif.-based solar sales company, Sungevity, estimated that installing enough solar equipment to generate roughly 80% of the energy consumed by the White House residence would cost $107,900 and would save roughly $1,610 in monthly utility costs.
McKibben and his group, 350.org, had organized an international climate work day last Sunday to bring attention to the ways that ordinary people can help preserve the environment. “Even people who don’t get global warming get solar panels,” McKibben said. “This is just the kind of message we’re trying to get across, that there’s some connection between political change and physical change in your community, your house.”