We hope green jobs will carry us into an economic rebirth, as well as a cleaner, more efficient state of energy consumption. So shouldn't we make sure to integrate clean energy system into our schools, engaging children with green energy earlier as they grow familiar to the energy perform the jobs we've created now for the next generation?
Japan seems to be thinking along these lines. I read an article earlier today that described a School New Deal initiative. As part of economic crisis countermeasures the nation set forth in 2009, the initiative advocates reform of facilities to promote schools that have the appropriate educational environment for the 21st century. Specifically, the initiative plans to pursue higher earthquake-resistant building standards and to use solar power.
In April 2009, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology set a target of increasing the number of public elementary, middle and high schools with solar power installations to 12,000.
Should the U.S. be doing the same to help the growth of clean energy and encourage its longevity? Why or why not?
Yes, of course!
No, not necessarily. We should only do something like add solar panels to schools *IF* it makes economic sense. We should not do it just to feel good about ourselves or to be politically correct.
We already have too much 'green' technology that isn't economically viable (think ethanol with four decades of subsides) and boondoggles like Solyndra to warrant throwing good money after bad.
Engineering is about implementing technology in an optimal fashion, where optimal usually translates into doing something as inexpensively as possible. And I'm not convinced that any of the subsidized solutions are necessarily 'better for the planet'. Besides, every school system I've seen is always looking for more money. It seems like a bad idea to spend more on this kind of project when you don't have to.
Finally, what kind of lesson do you want to teach the kids? Money is no object when it's for something we like and somebody else is paying for, or here's how to manage your resources for everyone's benefit?