Photo by Michael Smith
Thirty three years ago, when the oil embargo was forcing Americans to re-think their energy usage, Jon Costanza was constructing one of the first solar houses built on the East Coast. He started his business in 1972 at the age of 18, built his first solar house in 1974 and, as he confidently states, "never looked back."
In his own words:
During the solar "boom" years of the Carter Administration, I installed solar water heating systems. During the Regan administration, the solar "bust" years, I had to switch to high end construction. It was during this time that my interest in historic restorations was piqued. Over time I recognized the similarities between the fields of restoration and solar: both required fine craftsmanship and a deep care for your product, but moreover, there was an essence of practicality and commonsense. It was in this that I discovered a profound common thread.
We had an energy crisis in the late 70's, a meltdown at Three Mile Island, the chemical devastation of the Love Canal Community, acid rain, and Chernobyl. And although we all saw it on TV it was far away. Today there is an ozone hole over Australia, an industry that won't admit that cigarettes cause cancer, a Kyoto Accord that the world can't agree on or adhere to, and habitats and diversity disappearing fast. Amazingly, even with this generation of the baby boomers now in control, there has not been an outcry on a large enough scale to convince the world that it's not too late to change.
And then there are the polar bears, the poster children of global warming, drifting to their doom in the Artic... and people have opened their eyes.
So here it is: My hope lies in Massive Change. I hope that we will learn to coexist with our planet and our neighbors. The hope is that we can bridge the gap from today to the future with common sense, respect and conservation.
Massive Change is about a shift in the paradigm: we must refrain from super sizing our lifestyles. Enough is enough. The idea of consumerism has to be viewed differently. Currently we view consumption as devouring. We must consume, as nature does, by using only what we need and turning our waste into replenishment. Our self-constructed environment has a huge role to play in energy conservation and resource management. We need to build and live with an economy of scale, and utilize the free and inexhaustible resource of the sun. Remember, it's not really about saving the earth — evolution has taught us that the Earth will survive. It's about saving the human beings.
Thanks for your interest in SunPower, we look forward to working with you.
Photo by Michael Smith