B&Q is a British hardware store similar to Home Depot in the United States. In October of 2006 they began to sell wind turbines that consumers could purchase and install on their homes that would help produce energy and, in essence, save the consumer money in the long run. However, they have now pulled these units off the shelf as a recent study has shown that the turbines are only producing 5-10% of the energy that was advertised. Some units have even been reported to use more energy that what they were producing.

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B&Q Wind turbine

I love this idea of the turbines being counter productive. It sort of taps into a conversation that I had with a fellow architect a few weeks back. I think it would be prodigious if this trend of installing vast quantities of wind turbines continues across the globe. Think of a boat in the middle of the ocean with no engine. Now think of that boat with a small personal fan affixed to the top of it. It wouldn’t change the movement of the boat what-so-ever. But imagine an entire yacht covered in small 6″ diameter fans. Would it cause the boat to move? Could the constant use of perhaps 5 million wind turbines amend the pace of the earth’s rotation? Would the resistance of air passing through the turbines retard the rotation? Would the work of the blades force the rotation to accelerate? In our extreme desire to “save the earth” with all of these machines, is it possible to actually cause catastrophic events that are far worse than throwing my milk jug in the rubbish bin? If anything, we might finally get to have anti-gravitational structure in our projects.

About pettydesign

James Petty is an American architect experiencing and contributing to the Yale School of Architecture.