Thoughts about our energy future: an essay on the potential for applying solar energy

The author believes that we as a civilization at the end of the 20th century are proceeding on a dangerous path toward an uncertain energy future. Institutions that we trust to make the best decisions for ourselves, are not working, and will not work in this situation. Hope lies in interdisciplinary attempts to develop and use technologies and practices that lead to a sustainable, regenerative energy future. Cal Poly’s Center for Regenerative Studies is used as a case in point. A personal study of the author’s current energy use indicates that capturing and converting the solar energy falling on a typical residential rooftop provides a regenerative energy resource adequate to meet all needs. [This essay is derived from remarks presented at an interdisciplinary conference on architecture and the environment put on by Cal Poly’s College of Environmental Design in 1994.]