The White House Goes Solar

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Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced this morning that the White House will be installing solar panels. I should say that they are re-installing solar panels, as the White House was outfitted with solar back in the Carter White House. President Reagan promptly had the panels removed, along with the stash of Cardigan sweaters that Carter had left.

Here's the announcement:

"President Obama has a strong commitment to solar energy...The White House will lead by example," he said.

It's worth noting that the pressure on the White House has been increasing lately, with activist author Bill McKibben recently taking a road trip to the White House with the original Carter-Era panels in the hopes of getting them reinstalled. A solar installer -- Sungevity -- the U.S. has also been promoting the idea.

Chu said that the solar panels and a solar hot water heater will be installed by the Spring.

What do you think? Is this a good use of symbolism or is this a distraction from the Administration's failure to pass climate legislation?

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Adam Werbach is the co-founder of sharing startup Yerdle, formerly the chief sustainability officer for Saatchi & Saatchi and the president of the Sierra Club. He is the author of Strategy for Sustainability: A Business ManifestoHe lives in San Francisco and Bolinas, California.

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