October, 2008
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Lofty Goals, Down-to-Earth Views


ASHI past-president comments on carbon-neutral announcement

In early June, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias announced Costa Rica’s intent to be carbon-neutral by 2021. Such a lofty  goal places Costa Rica, a CentralAmerican country of 4  million people, among the earliest countries projected to be carbon neutral.

According to Rich Matzen, ASHI past-president, President Arias has skeptics who are raising doubts about the capacity to meet such a goal. Arias reached the world stage in 1987 by winning the Nobel Peace Prize. In Costa Rica, some regard him for sex scandals and large-scale corruption. Some charge that Arias simply wants to be a man about town at the United Nations.
At the local level, Costa Rica is having an old-fashioned love affair with automobiles, tourism, foreign investment in real estate, high-tech and pharmaceuticals, which has produced a small upper class that can’t resist the biggest cars in the marketplace. To Ticos (Costa Ricans are affectionately called Ticos), $7.00-a-gallon gas is the only reason to slow down, and the social class that has money isn’t bothered by gas prices.

The first step in becoming carbon-neutral is developing a national will to be carbon-neutral. That will isn’t observable at the local level in Costa Rica.

ASHI past-president Rich Matzen has been a Costa Rican resident for the last two years, and lives in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Homeowners alerted to possible alternative energy conflicts

In the article “The Great Alternative Energy Debate,” published in the May/June 2008 Smart HomeOwner magazine, author Tux Turkel advises, “Homeowners need to think about more than just costs when installing alternative energy systems.”

He cites the local zoning laws that former Vice President Al Gore ran up against when installing solar electric panels on his home, and numerous examples of wind turbine issues as he counsels readers to “consider the real estate angle, not just the energy issues,” and to understand “the importance of aesthetics.”

To read the article in full, visit www.smart-homeowner.com.