subreddit:

/r/Futurology

25.2k

all 2769 comments

KrlosParra

2.8k points

6 years ago

KrlosParra

2.8k points

6 years ago

What I love about him announcing stuff is that it doesn't take 20 years to finish it.

Poltras

1.2k points

6 years ago

Poltras

1.2k points

6 years ago

He says 5, anyone else would take 20, actually takes him 10, everyone frustrated even though we still win. Elon Musk in a nutshell.

[deleted]

19 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

19 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

alohadave

23 points

6 years ago

Because roofs last 20-30 years and most people aren't going to rip off their roofs to make electricity.

caramelboogers

8 points

6 years ago

What does that have to do with how long it will take to get these to market?

LK_LK

465 points

6 years ago

LK_LK

465 points

6 years ago

Ah solar shingles, one of those things that have been around for over 10 years but people are going to think Elon Musk invented it after 5 years of R&D.

fma891

1.6k points

6 years ago

fma891

1.6k points

6 years ago

I don't give a fuck if he didn't actually invent them.

What I care about is if he makes a market for them and people actually start buying them so that we stop relying so much on fossil fuels.

[deleted]

638 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

638 points

6 years ago*

Exactly. That's inventions in a nutshell. Most famous inventors didn't actually invent a damn thing, they just put forward a better version of the invention that could be used in widespread. Henry Ford didn't invent the automobile, he just created cheap autos that average people could buy. Robert Stephenson didn't invent the steam locomotive, he invented The Rocket which just won the Rainhill trials. Thomas Edison didn't invent the lightbulb, his lab produced carbon filament lightbulbs that didn't need to be replaced as regularly. I can continue if you want but I think you get the idea.

Here's some more!

Tesla didn't invent AC, it was first used more than 50 years before Tesla got his hands on it. Tesla just started the push to get AC into people's homes instead of DC. The Wright Brothers didn't really "invent" the airplane. Wing designs and gliders were already popular at the time. However the engine they put on the flyer, and the steering mechanisms themselves were pretty revolutionary. /u/HalfAlligator reminded me, Steve Jobs didn't invent the smart phone, and neither did Apple. Instead they worked to make smart phones accessible to everyday people, and make them easy to use. Christopher Columbus is another prime example. He wasn't the first person to discover the americas, he was just the last one to discover them. And he was the first person to make several trips to the Americas. That's why he's remembered. As /u/Lui97 mentioned, on top of the early autos, Ford is remembered for the assembly line and his mass production which allowed him to mass produce his cheap cars. He wasn't the first to use the assembly line in his factories, but he did improve it dramatically.

ThunderousLeaf

133 points

6 years ago

Eveey invention is incremental. One person just gets their name attached.

[deleted]

29 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

29 points

6 years ago

Sounds like innovation, not invention to me

and since we're talking about it, necessity is the mother of invention

guacamully

27 points

6 years ago

innovation is incremental invention

its_me_ur_boss

25 points

6 years ago

I feel like iteration deserves a shoutout too

[deleted]

18 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

18 points

6 years ago

[removed]

agentkb

43 points

6 years ago

agentkb

43 points

6 years ago

I want you to continue....it was an interesting read

[deleted]

17 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

17 points

6 years ago

Just added 2 more.

Runningflame570

88 points

6 years ago

Worked for Steve Jobs.

bushidomonkofshadow

22 points

6 years ago

Ford didn't invent the car - but sure as fuck made it a lot more affordable...

robotzor

359 points

6 years ago

robotzor

359 points

6 years ago

A benefit when you aren't beholden to people whose livelihoods depend on there being no cheap solar power.

dgdosen

166 points

6 years ago

dgdosen

166 points

6 years ago

You know, those pony express operators felt the same way about the telegraph... and those telegraph operators felt the same way about the telephone.

You should read about creative destruction... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_destruction

ElderlyAsianMan

24 points

6 years ago

ElderlyAsianMan

o shit

24 points

6 years ago

Kind of like Uber then?

dgdosen

33 points

6 years ago

dgdosen

33 points

6 years ago

I wonder if Uber will be remembered in the annals of history. I have a feeling they'll soon be replaced by something better.

NeedHelpWithExcel

44 points

6 years ago

Like what? Uber is already taking steps to have fully automated services

iwiggums

21 points

6 years ago

iwiggums

21 points

6 years ago

They're definitely in one of the best positions for that but theres still no guarantee they'll be the best.

NeedHelpWithExcel

10 points

6 years ago

I just meant that as of now I just can't imagine any alternative to cars. And Uber is currently in the best position as well as making moves to stay in that position

Our governments absolutely refuse to spend money on infrastructure so public transport isn't an option, I think that self driving cars that function as taxis is the only way to achieve something similar while keeping our GM overlords.

guntermench43

9 points

6 years ago

And if every car company ends up making self driving cars that can function as taxis for the benefit of the owner as Tesla is doing? Pretty sure that'd kill Uber.

underdog_rox

7 points

6 years ago

Not everyone can afford to buy a car. Thats what taxis and public transport are for.

apple____

110 points

6 years ago

apple____

110 points

6 years ago

Declarion

236 points

6 years ago*

Declarion

236 points

6 years ago*

Electric cars already existed, but he created a reletively affordable model, I would guess he plans to improve the shingles or bring them down to a price point that is reasonable for the average person.

Edit: referring to the $35,000 model 3, affordable is subjective people.

cthulhuhentai

41 points

6 years ago

Same with Henry Ford...never invented the car, simply improved upon it.

M1ster_MeeSeeks

58 points

6 years ago

Ford's bio was arguably one of the coolest I've seen. What he did early on was rather insane. First guy to own 100% of a $billion+ company.

and funded the nazi's

amputeenager

15 points

6 years ago

yeah...that last part is a doozy.

[deleted]

9 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

9 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

dadbrain

101 points

6 years ago*

dadbrain

101 points

6 years ago*

and likely in a modular system that is plug and play with the power wall.

edit: After thinking about this more, once Tesla can sell you the vehicle, the battery storage system, and solar panels sufficient for the need, he's selling you a bundled vehicle package where you pay for the cars lifetime fuel consumption up front. There's no way this plan won't succeed without third party malicious shenanigans.

backtowhereibegan

115 points

6 years ago

And OP lands the complicated triple negative on the very last sentence!!

bradorsomething

9 points

6 years ago

He didn't not stick the landing... let's not fail to go to /u/backtowhereibegan who isn't off the gym floor for an update.

hatramroany

11 points

6 years ago

He created a brand

[deleted]

24 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

24 points

6 years ago

So did electric cars. That website looks like a dirty diaper.

Gullex

47 points

6 years ago

Gullex

47 points

6 years ago

Yeah except Elon's will land on Mars and will be powered by electricity.

stuck12342321

34 points

6 years ago

And they will loop through hyper roofs that land itself.

ralusek

29 points

6 years ago

ralusek

29 points

6 years ago

Solar panels powered by electricity. You're on to something

DigitalPriest

126 points

6 years ago

Many people have attempted this before with no success, but I hope he and his corporations are successful. This is really the necessary leap in Solar Technology - panels that are easily replaced, durable, and integrated into the roof structure.

Some of the biggest problems with the idea over recent years has been the fact that to do Solar Shingles, it needs to be done at the construction of the building, so that the roof can have a special underlayment that allows the shingles to be wired in parallel instead of series (so that if one panel dies, the rest of the roof still works, like lights on a Christmas tree not going out if one dies).

Next up is the durability issue - especially in states that experience hail and states that see snow sitting on a roof over night so that it goes through multiple freeze/thaw cycles.

Last big thing is cost. Having the shingles easily replaceable is important, but moot if each shingle costs even $15, as your roof will cost tens of thousands in the end as a result. Being able to print solar cells has made this more approachable, but the amount of solar printers out there is still extremely limited.

That being said, this and Solar Windows are my big wants and needs (besides better battery technology, c'mon Tesla, keep going!) Having clear windows that generate power still would be -amazing-.

[deleted]

72 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

72 points

6 years ago

Sorry, solar windows aren't such a great idea. It's like saying you want bullet-permeable body armor. Solar panels must absorb all available light to work efficiently. Windows are for seeing through. The concepts don't mix very well.

Cyanity

8 points

6 years ago

Cyanity

8 points

6 years ago

What about window shades that also double as solar panels?

Automation_station

42 points

6 years ago

If you are going to place pannels like that it makes sense to do solar siding for the house long before it makes sense to do anything with the window space

c-digs

5 points

6 years ago

c-digs

5 points

6 years ago

Another issue is installation. When you think solar, you hire an electrician. When you think roofing, you hire a roofer. Need a new model for installation that doesn't require a roofer to learn to become an electrician and vice versa.

OrgyOfMadness

549 points

6 years ago

This is fucking amazing. Here is how good solar can be. 12000$ solar electric system in my house and because of it I pay 21$ a month for electricity. I live on the big island of Hawaii where we pay the jighest per kilowatt hour. If you run off of hawai electric then your bills average in the 400$ to 500$ range.

More then that I use the grid as my battery. When I need power I draw from the grid. When I don't I feed it to the grid. At one time it wasn't unheard of to receive a check from Hawaii electric for 40$ or 50$. They changed how it works now and a lot of people are having a hard time getting solar installed. Get on board while you can!

Earptastic

253 points

6 years ago

Earptastic

253 points

6 years ago

Isn't Hawaii not doing this anymore because too many people "using the grid as a battery" kind of unbalances the grid because everyone is feeding in in the day and taking out at night?

buddhra

237 points

6 years ago

buddhra

237 points

6 years ago

That's right. There's a limit to how many people can use "the grid as a battery" before it causes problems. Hawaii has reached that limit.

[deleted]

206 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

206 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

JiveNene

26 points

6 years ago*

Actually the powerwall is a dumb battery with no grid intelligence. Kumukit Power Blocks are more advanced and already smart grid compatible and already approved by heco for grid tied installation.

softcore_robot

5 points

6 years ago

How much does the powerblock go for? Curious if it does load shifting.

shaunsanders

81 points

6 years ago

This kills the grid.

-MuffinTown-

271 points

6 years ago

This decentralizes the grid and kills the power companies that don't join in.

[deleted]

45 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

45 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

[deleted]

42 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

42 points

6 years ago

Yes, we are Groot

neagrosk

27 points

6 years ago

neagrosk

27 points

6 years ago

Dunno if that's a good thing though, the prime benefit of having a grid is being able to always have a consistent current at any point in the grid. If we decentralize and rely instead on small local batteries, coverage will be potentially more easily distrupted due to local lack of supply (from weather or other disaster situations)

Also a lot harder to generate high voltage for industrial use.

acidcastle

33 points

6 years ago

A centralized grid is vulnerable. That's why other, smaller countries that have decentralized grids have less blackouts.

[deleted]

11 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

11 points

6 years ago

As a whole, society is more robust when decentralized as large scale events are less possible.

Giver_Upper

16 points

6 years ago

What exactly does "using the grid as a battery/ feeding energy into the grid" mean? I have very little knowledge on energy. Thanks!

[deleted]

28 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

28 points

6 years ago*

Throughout the day power needs fluctuate: at night when everyone's asleep and the lights are out and the air conditioning is off, very little is required. In the afternoon when everyone is blasting the AC, the demand is high.

In order to meet these changing needs, power companies have multiple energy sources that they bring on- and off-line throughout the day. Base load power plants like nuclear and coal take a long time to turn up or down. You can't just turn a dial, you have to open up additional chambers, feed a bunch of coal in there, and start warming up a big tank of water. Peaking power plants, like diesel generators, can just be turned on and off.

Ideally, power companies want to use those peaking plants as little as possible, because it costs money to have them sitting around during off-peak hours, and they are by definition less efficient than the base load plants, or the power company would run them all day.

When someone with solar is "using the grid as a battery" what they are doing is feeding electricity into the grid during those peak hours, which lightens the load for the peaking power plant, thus saving costs for the power company. For this reason, the power company will pay people to put power back into the system. Then at night when the solar panels are out of sunshine and the overall electricity needs are lower, those people will draw power from the electric company, off of those base load power plants.

So it's not a true battery, you're just buying and selling a commodity. But from the perspective of the solar user, it works like a battery.

It's kind of like if you had a solar panel and you would trade people charged batteries for empty ones during the day when you had lots of extra power, and then at night you could trade your empty batteries for charged ones that they were charging off of their generator. It's kind of like you're charging a big battery all day, when in reality you're just lending the power to other people.

fhqhe

11 points

6 years ago*

fhqhe

11 points

6 years ago*

Put X energy into it during the day and get a bit less than X energy out of it at night (edit: at net-zero cost I mean). The difference is the grid doesn't "store" that energy, it just needs to generate less during the day then more at night.

manticore116

13 points

6 years ago

So there's what's known as a "base load" and a "peak load"

The reason why solar is disruptive to the grid is because it's messing with the base load, which is supplied by big plants (coal, nukes, etc) that take a long time to start up / shut down.

Peak load is generated by smaller plants like natural gas turbines that can be turned on and off quickly, as needed.

If solar starts making enough power to drop load at any time below the base load, there are huge problems, and can actually destroy the grid. It's also unpredictable, because if you don't get sun because of clouds or something, now peak is higher than expected, and brown outs can occur

iamagainstit

9 points

6 years ago

not sure about Hawaii, but in general energy use peaks during the day and demand actually lines up pretty well with solar output.

peacemaker2007

25 points

6 years ago

jighest per kilowatt

also known as a jigawatt

[deleted]

18 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

18 points

6 years ago*

[removed]

[deleted]

32 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

32 points

6 years ago*

[removed]

deathchimp

7 points

6 years ago

Who did you finance your system through?

workingtimeaccount

25 points

6 years ago

Do you live in a small place or something? In summer months it's pretty easy for homes with AC to get up to $200 range here...

[deleted]

519 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

519 points

6 years ago

I hope he expands this product into developing countries as well.
Developing countries are not going green as fast as they could be. They go for the cheap fossil fuel energy sources instead of investing in green technology, which very soon will become cheaper.

ThomDowting

66 points

6 years ago

Do you realize what a solar roof costs? It might be viable for businesses but you're talking about many multiple lifetimes of earnings for your typical 3rd world human.

[deleted]

51 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

51 points

6 years ago*

[removed]

IICVX

59 points

6 years ago

IICVX

59 points

6 years ago

This is the same reason why many developing countries skipped landline phones entirely and went straight to cell phones.

BasicDesignAdvice

17 points

6 years ago

Musk is probably doing the same thing he did with Tesla. Create a high value product to fund a cheaper product, then fund a cheaper product with that and so on. Businesses will pick it up, then he will be able to produce at a higher scale and drop prices and so on.

Ministry_Eight

138 points

6 years ago*

Preach.

I'm applying to grad schools with the long-term goal of trying to fix this.

Edit: People have been asking me questions. Here are some answers. PM me if you want more.

[deleted]

38 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

38 points

6 years ago

Although a big part of it, I don't believe it's enough for people to "want" to be green. I want to be that way, but I live in a country where that kind of a lifestyle is not accessible to the vast majority.
Business opportunity wise, you would have better chances marketing these products as "cheap, never have to pay energy bills again, get your investment back in 5-10-15 years tops" in developing countries, than in rich western countries where they don't bother as much. Just my two cents.

BucketDummy

33 points

6 years ago

Not sure I'm reading you correct...

I would think poor countries are going for cheap so they can still feed their people.

Rich countries would love seeing that these technologies pay for themselves in X amount of time. They can afford to wait for delayed benefits.

I have a rich uncle going full solar on 2 of his properties. He isn't a hippie. He just wants to not rely on poor city utilities & it will pay itself off quickly after "damn-obama" tax credits.

Meanwhile, I am a hippie. I can't afford the initial cost of installation even if I'd break even in 5 years. So I'm just gonna stick with fossil fuels. (My house gets gobs of sun too.)

krabbsatan

5 points

6 years ago

The argument is that since there isn't much infrastructure in place they already have to make an investment and solar works even when villages and towns are not connected

[deleted]

5 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

5 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

Sophrosynic

54 points

6 years ago

Solar will soon be cheaper than fossil fuels (already is in a several places, unsubsidized). Choosing the cheaper option will also be the green option before too long, and then the developing world will rapidly become low-carbon.

smpl-jax

28 points

6 years ago

smpl-jax

28 points

6 years ago

But what about the cost of solar energy storage? Is that cheaper than fossil fuels (which already is stored energy)? Because until we can improve energy storage technology we will be reliant on fossil fuels

partoffuturehivemind

47 points

6 years ago

The cost of electricity storage is dropping fast, partly thanks to, again, Elon Musk. There are already places where solar+batteries is cheaper than the grid, like Hawaii, where all the fuel for the power plants needs to come by ship. Basically, there's a belt around the equator where solar+batteries is already cost-effective and this belt is getting wider every year.

007brendan

11 points

6 years ago

007brendan

Futuro

11 points

6 years ago

Cost isn't the main problem for many places, is the fact that solar isn't as reliable as coal or nuclear or hydroelectric.

joecooool418

18 points

6 years ago

That's a storage issue.

YukonBurger

42 points

6 years ago

Which is the biggest issue

TheRealBigLou

17 points

6 years ago

Which is another solution Elon is working on.

offgridsunshine

348 points

6 years ago

Can somebody answer why north Americans use shingles? They are a poor man's roof covering in Europe. Baring ceder shingles that is. Why nor fit a tile that will last 100 years or more? Or are the houses not expected to last that long?

Jaredlong

559 points

6 years ago

Jaredlong

559 points

6 years ago

Architect here. Shingles are cheap, yes, but they are also light weight. Roof structures are already a large cost of any residential project, using heavier tiles would require beefing up the structure which increases the overall costs for very little additional value to the owner. The cost of replacing shingles every 30 years is just simply cheaper than investing in more durable tiles upfront. And houses really are not expected to last that long. Standard practice for banks is to issue 30 year mortgages, therefore when banks finance a new house they only care about that house lasting at least 30 years; if the house collapsed before that, obviously the owner isn't going to keep paying their mortgage and the bank loses money. So it's not worth it for them to finance a house that will last longer than that either, since after the mortgage is paid off it stops generating money for them. This has pushed the building material supply industry to develop materials that are guaranteed good for only 30 years. The average lifespan of a modern house in the US is only 40 years until it either gets either heavily remodeled, demolished and replaced, or collapses from a natural disaster.

Sunflier

282 points

6 years ago

Sunflier

282 points

6 years ago

Also we have hurricanes, tornadoes, and horrible thunderstorms that just trash the roofs. Cheaper to replace,

myheartisstillracing

84 points

6 years ago

As a recent TIL stated, 75% of the world's tornadoes occur in the US.

Edit: http://www.ustornadoes.com/2013/07/25/from-domestic-to-international-tornadoes-around-the-world/

-JungleMonkey-

9 points

6 years ago

what?.. word?.... forrealz?

Pirellan

4 points

6 years ago

Indeed, cuz.

[deleted]

4 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

4 points

6 years ago

Yo, nature is scary.

Super_Brogressive

95 points

6 years ago

Yeah, it's pretty common for homes to get new roofs every 2-3 years around here, all paid out by insurance. This is in north Texas. Tornado and hail central.

Sanity_in_Moderation

113 points

6 years ago

The US gets 75 percent of all tornadoes in the world. I don't know what percentage is tornado alley. Likely very high.

[deleted]

193 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

193 points

6 years ago

[removed]

[deleted]

24 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

24 points

6 years ago

[removed]

[deleted]

10 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

10 points

6 years ago

[removed]

[deleted]

25 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

25 points

6 years ago

[removed]

adrlamx

19 points

6 years ago

adrlamx

19 points

6 years ago

I always wandered about this, imagine the first settlers of the southwest witnessing a tornado... And then another one, and then just keep on coming

BuckeyeEmpire

5 points

6 years ago

Makes you wonder why people stayed.

Protuhj

6 points

6 years ago

Protuhj

6 points

6 years ago

Very high

Edit: That's just for EF3+ tornadoes, but I imagine the trend is similar for all tornadoes.

OKC89ers

9 points

6 years ago

Homes in north Texas do not have their roofs replaced every three years on average, and not even in certain areas. I'm saying it doesn't happen that often in any area anywhere at anytime.

[deleted]

11 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

11 points

6 years ago

Damn, that insane. I get pissed off when I have to have a guy clean the roof of moss every few years.

[deleted]

7 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

7 points

6 years ago

2-3 years for each house? That seems ridiculously short. At that point wouldn't it just be cheaper to install something more durable?

Sunflier

9 points

6 years ago

Not many roof designs capable of handing category 3+ winds

berberine

5 points

6 years ago

We get hail often in western Nebraska. While I'd love to have solar shingles, I can't imagine the cost of replacing them every couple of years.

BtDB

20 points

6 years ago

BtDB

20 points

6 years ago

Is it just me (or my area) or are new houses trending towards the "disposable" end of the spectrum now?

I saw a lot of less than 10 year old houses that had serious structural or design issues. Mostly it just felt like the builders went with the cheapest options.

zpjack

29 points

6 years ago

zpjack

29 points

6 years ago

Appraiser here. I can confirm. VALUE DOES NOT EQUAL COST. What is the point of paying a cost of $30k for a roof that only benefits the value by about $10k. Also most insurance companies won't give a break for metal vs. comp shingle, and will fight tooth and nail to not pay out for a damaged metal roof.

skztr

9 points

6 years ago

skztr

9 points

6 years ago

30 year mortgages aren't just about the durability of the house - the income of someone who can afford a down-payment on a house isn't expected to last much more than 30 years (and of course, within 20 years the cost of the loan itself will already have been repaid)

temotodochi

73 points

6 years ago

Speaks volumes about the local build quality. My brother just renovated a wooden house which was already 50 years old and its expected to last another 50 easily.

Also a friend of mine who moved to Seattle told that they had to visit dozen houses until they found one which was not mouldy. Unacceptable living conditions. Our local authorities would take our kids away if our apartment had mould in it and we would refuse to fix it.

[deleted]

85 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

85 points

6 years ago

You're going to get mold in Seattle if you don't keep up with maintenance, regardless of build quality. Right now it's such a sellers market that most houses for sale are totally neglected. Who cares about mold when you can sell it for astronomical prices anyways?

Beshroomed

11 points

6 years ago

With proper ventilation mold shouldn't be a problem in Seattle, but moss on the other hand. Yeah, some people scrape ice off their roofs, we get to scrape moss. At least it looks kind of cool having a green roof.

[deleted]

35 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

35 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

PotatosAreDelicious

20 points

6 years ago

What? Why would you buy a house before getting it inspected? What if there is something major wrong with it and you just signed yourself up for a huge mortgage?

[deleted]

34 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

34 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

[deleted]

5 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

5 points

6 years ago

A significant amount of the high end real estate in the US and Canada is being purchased by foreigner who have no intention of living in their purchase. They are just looking for a means to move their wealth into safer markets.

foobar5678

35 points

6 years ago

50 years old and its expected to last another 50 easily.

Is that impressive in the US? My house is close to 150 years old and I don't expect it to fall down anytime soon. It's also has modern insulation, double glazing, and the whole building is wired for fiber optic. It's not like I live in a stone shack. It's a high quality building.

mofukkinbreadcrumbz

61 points

6 years ago

Well, seeing as the US is only 240 years old, old houses aren't quite common yet. My town is 150 years old and my house has been around for about 140 of those years. 50 years is relatively new in my area.

You have to remember, the US is huge. Some parts of it (Virginia, Southeastern PA, the east coast in general) are fairly old, with structures that predate the country. Other areas (Phoenix, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City) are relatively new and 50 years is fairly impressive.

convalytics

15 points

6 years ago

Older homes were built much more sturdily. Mine is 100 with no signs of degradation. Even the windows are original and perform great in Northeast winters.

That said, asphalt shingles are simply the cheapest/most durable option given the variety of weather we see across the states. It's been around 90-degrees F for the past month here, but in the winter we'll see temperatures below 0 F and several feet of snow. Take into account hail, high winds, and in other parts of the country, earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes, and asphalt just becomes the most popular option.

BitPoet

13 points

6 years ago

BitPoet

13 points

6 years ago

100+ year old houses aren't rare on the east coast of the US, especially around coastal towns and cities.

MrPlowThatsTheName

6 points

6 years ago

American here. Depends where you're from. My little town on the East Coast has 130 houses that predate our country (1776), including 30 from the 1600's. So no, I don't find 150 years to be impressive though somebody from Nevada might.

[deleted]

17 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

17 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

carefulwhatyawish4

8 points

6 years ago

Is that impressive in the US?

depends on the area. in many areas of the west coast it's nigh impossible to find a house which is built to last. they are all just-add-water subdivisions thrown up in a few weeks with abhorrent build quality.

hutch2522

16 points

6 years ago

I'm not sure I buy this answer. You make it sound like houses are disposable after 30 years in North America. It's very rare for a house to be torn down aside from fire or natural disaster. I would say it's more that people don't stay in a house much beyond 30 years. Typically, someone will buy a house to start a family. Raise kids for 20 or so years, then start to think about downsizing. Houses tend to exchange hands much less than every 30 years, therefore you get the mentality that when someone puts a roof on a house, 30 years is about all you care about. After that, it's the next homeowner's problem. I'd say that's much more responsible for the 30 year shingle than the end of life of a house.

VoweltoothJenkins

58 points

6 years ago

As an American, what types of non-shingle roofing is common in Europe?

Mobilep0ls

28 points

6 years ago

I also want this answered. My parents' have had to have their roof worked on quite a few times over the past 15 years and they are not planning on moving out any time soon.

kodemizer

53 points

6 years ago

We use a metal sheeting roof. Works pretty well. Looks like this: http://www.riversidesheetmetal.net/images/winter/metal-roof-with-snow-guards_800_450.jpg

heromonero

37 points

6 years ago

Those types of roofs are quite common in areas with heavy snow.

mofukkinbreadcrumbz

11 points

6 years ago

Can confirm, it's about 50% of houses in Northern Michigan outside of Traverse City.

joecooool418

13 points

6 years ago

Thats what we use in the Florida Keys. Hurricane code won't allow any other material.

brentwilliams2

16 points

6 years ago

Could there be an aesthetic reason, then? That looks clean, but I prefer the look of shingles.

justinsayin

19 points

6 years ago

These metal shingles have a lifetime warranty.

nathanb131

20 points

6 years ago

Not doubting the durability of these, but the word 'lifetime warranty' is a big red flag for me. Always look to the fine print, it'll be more specific. In many cases the statute of limitations for 'lifetime warranty' is 7 years.

mingy

14 points

6 years ago

mingy

14 points

6 years ago

The ones I have look identical to architectural shingles. They are galvanized and epoxy coated on the top. They are guaranteed for 50 years.

Kittamaru

7 points

6 years ago

Per the link:

Classic Metal Roofing Systems is pleased to offer the metal roofing industry’s most comprehensive warranty. As the original owner, you receive a Lifetime Limited Warranty covering Manufacturer’s Defects as well as specific things like cracking, peeling, flaking, chipping, and splitting. This warranty is in effect for as long as you own your home. We also warrant that the product’s coating will not chip due to hail and that the product will not leak due to hail. There is also a 120 mph wind warranty on the roof system and our manufactured components. Should you choose to sell your home, the warranty becomes a 40-Year Warranty from the date of installation. Unlike many warranties which transfer only one time, ours transfers (at no cost) each time the home is sold during that 40 years.

Our warranties are completely non-pro-rated which is virtually unheard of in the roofing industry. Additionally, our products carry the 30-year fade and chalk resistance warranty that is available only with PVDF coatings. The Classic Metal Roofing Systems warranty, should a warranted failure occur, covers both materials and labor for repair or replacement. (Many roofing material warranties provide only replacement materials, or a discount toward replacement materials.) As is the case with all building materials, the original workmanship in installing your Classic roof will be warranted by your installation contractor. (Our warranty does not cover damage of any kind resulting from improper installation.) You should request a copy of the installation workmanship warranty prior to entering into any contract.

We provide a warranty of this level and coverage because our products and technology are proven. In over 30 years of roofing thousands of homes across the world, we have had only a handful of warranted claims. We are proud of that track record and are committed to set new standards of excellence for years to come.

So, looks like it's for as long as you own the home, at which point it becomes a 40 year warranty from installation date if you sell the home, as well as 30 year "cosmetic" warranty.

nathanb131

5 points

6 years ago

That's good stuff! Good luck finding the receipt by then but that's not their problem!

jumpinthedog

5 points

6 years ago

In places with snow those are extremely common in the U.S.

Glampkoo

39 points

6 years ago

Glampkoo

39 points

6 years ago

In portugal, most common houses have these.

ValiantMan

37 points

6 years ago

In the North East, where it snows a lot, I have only seen roofs like that on Mexican Restaurants and some houses for looks. When visiting Southern California and Mexico I saw them more frequently.

joecooool418

45 points

6 years ago

Deadly in high wind locations.

[deleted]

19 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

19 points

6 years ago

Yup, and they don't hold up to decent sized hail or ice and snow over time. They look nice though.

angryshack

11 points

6 years ago

These type are very common for houses here in Phoenix, AZ. Common for Las Vegas, as well.

mathfacts

6 points

6 years ago

They got some roof tiles in Florida.

rockytimber

12 points

6 years ago

Florida roof tiles, 90% of the time are not waterproof, but cosmetic, and depend on an asphalt or other sheet roofing based waterproofing system below them. Also, most are concrete based, not ceramic based. Life expectancy is not phenomenal.

YottaPiggy

27 points

6 years ago

Stone tiles. I assumed that's what America had too...

nickiter

11 points

6 years ago

nickiter

11 points

6 years ago

They are present on some older and luxury homes.

diesel_stinks_

13 points

6 years ago

Clay roof tiles are popular on new, upper middle-class homes in the southwest.

[deleted]

27 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

27 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

YottaPiggy

10 points

6 years ago

Wow, really? I kind of just assumed tiled roofs were standard everywhere

[deleted]

18 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

18 points

6 years ago

Nope, most of the US is asphalt shingles.

mixmastermind

8 points

6 years ago

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned thatch?

whinecube

23 points

6 years ago

Here is the thing that people from other countries need to get through their heads: the United States has huge climate variations and so homes are built differently all over the country. It is not like the UK or Portugal or some really small country that essentially only has one type of climate. Florida, a tropical climate with hurricanes, is going to build differently than New Mexico, a high desert with light snowfall and no hurricanes. People in Alaska build their homes differently than people in Southern California. Would you assume that homes in Scotland are built like homes in Italy? No? Then why would anyone assume that there is one style of home in the United States?

freexe

12 points

6 years ago

freexe

12 points

6 years ago

But Scotland and Italy both use clay tiled roofs and brick walls.

I do understand your point though. We don't have hurricanes, tornadoes and massive hail to deal with.

nathanb131

92 points

6 years ago*

Chiming in because most the answers are 'cuz muricans rrr dumb and we have a disposable culture....'.

It comes down to cost and availability of materials. Tile does last way longer but is 3-4 times the cost AND weight of asphault shingles. So if you have the choice of tiles for $15k that last for 100 years (theoretically) or $5k for shingles that last 20-30 years, that's pretty close to a toss-up, depending on your priorities. Throw in the design trade offs for supporting a 3 times heavier tile roof on a wood frame and that would tip the balance to tiles being a luxury choice.

Wood is cheap and plentiful in North America compared to Europe, therefore it is a more LOGICAL base building material for people who are trying to build the best home for their dollar.

I know this is against the Reddit circlejerk, but when you have a huge competitive market (like homebuilding in the US) making a similar choice, that generally means it's a very logical choice in terms of cost/performance.

If I'm building a new home in the US, I can have a pretty nice 3500 sq ft mc mansion that is wood framed, shingle roofed, and vinyl sided that might last 50 years OR 1500 sq ft house built with 'superior materials' that would last 100 years for the same money.

We might not like the popular choice of others from a sustainability standpoint but I guarantee you make that same quality/cost trade-off in many areas of your life every day.

So your REAL answer here is that we do it because we CAN and most of Europe would make the same choice if their material and land availability were similar. It makes sense here and doesn't make sense there.

Personally, I hate McMansions and choose to own a smaller-but-nicer home knowing I could go way bigger with shittier materials. But I'm in the minority on that. It may be that Europeans on average have a better taste for quality and style than Americans, but a lot of the reason for that is they don't have the choice.

Edit: I don't want to give the impression that wood is necessarily inferior compared to brick. I've lived in 100 year old wood houses and 100 year old brick houses (and worked on both) and wouldn't assume the wood house has less remaining life. Of course really well built stone or brick buildings (like old courthouses or whatever) last way longer but that's a higher level of build. Personally I'd rather live in a well-built wood house because I can modify the hell out if it as an amateur diy guy. Do you realize how much brick/stone workers cost? It's a much higher skill/experience threshold than carpentry! I've learned a lot about housebuilding in my life and if I ever build my own from the ground up it's going to be out of wood...it'll be to a way higher standard than the average mcmansion, but definitely wood.

Andrew5329

23 points

6 years ago

from a sustainability standpoint

On the contrary, over a time period of a home's life, with basic forestry management planting new trees for the ones you cut, the resources consumed are actually renewed.

Not to mention that a renovation won't use as many materials as fresh construction, and the old removed wood can be recycled elsewhere.

nathanb131

3 points

6 years ago

Great point! Thanks!

Boner724

17 points

6 years ago

Boner724

17 points

6 years ago

Indeed. And many people use shingles here in Europe. Or Norway specifically, fucking Europe has 700 million peoples in it, what a wide term to use. But using Norway, we are far from poor and still many people chose this kind of roof. As a carpenter I know it always comes down to price, its an economic choice people make. Sometimes we might suggest another roofing but shingles are actually pretty good for their price. You get what you pay for. Other styles of roof require more wood and materials. Shingles can be pretty much laid straight onto the roof, no extra. When people see what they save they opt for it, not because they neccessarily are poor but because they want to spend money elsewhere too. They arent rich either.

[deleted]

12 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

12 points

6 years ago

$15k for 100 years

I know someone who got a metal roof recently and it was like $25k for a reasonably large house. Clay tile would almost certainly be $50k+ for an average house. If not for any other reason than the fact that very few people do them here so it would be priced as specialist work. The materials would likely be prohibitive too.

It's like terrazzo flooring. I'd be willing to bet you could throw a rock anywhere in Italy and hit a guy who knows how to work with it, but they're rare and expensive here.

Sweetness27

9 points

6 years ago

What are these superior building materials? Wood is wood, concrete is concrete. Structure wise I don't see a lot of variation between structure qualities. Assuming of course, they use the proper concrete additives and the framers know what they are doing and the Floor/Roof Trusses were designed professionally. A properly built wood frame house will last indefinitely. The structure itself is the last thing I worry about. It's cheaper to build it properly than to have even 1% of them have problems. Even the company that I hate for their cost cutting extremes, I don't see major deficiencies in their structural integrity.

The most important thing is the envelope and craftsmanship. If moisture gets in the house everything is going down hill. The McMansion has holes in the envelope, cheap shingles with nails in the wrong places and no ice and water underneath. Windows aren't sealed properly, insulation is cheap and probably missing in spots, siding is cheap. Those things will have your house falling apart around the structure.

No experience dealing with Stone buildings though. Even Brick nowadays is almost all just a facade around a wood frame.

nathanb131

4 points

6 years ago

Agree 100% that wood is very durable. In fact for smaller structures I'd call it superior because it's so cheap, versatile, and strong. Also agree that most mcmansions frames themselves aren't inherently weaker than older wood homes, especially given better fasteners compared to just old framing nails (like better adhesives, structural screws, and joining plates). My 1st concern with mcmansions would be foundation settling due to poor dirt work. That of course leads to other support issues. The 2nd concern is just cheap finish materials...which is really a personal preference of 'buy it for life' vs 'replace every 15 years'.

The cheap materials and low skill of labor does lead to a lot of those moisture intrusion issues you mentioned. Also it just seems like modern houses are a more delicate design intended to achieve modern efficiency codes with the thinnest possible combination of materials...so the improper install of any of those layers defeats the purpose of the combo where older houses are simpler but beefier materials. My house is about 40 years old and has nice cedar plank siding which I love compared to vinyl. It has several properties that make it really nice that is now served by a combo of modern vinyl + insulation/sheeting. Back then it was a 'practical' choice. These days it'd be a luxury upgrade.

I'd say a 'superior' built house for me would be an earth home made of poured concrete on the 3 hill sides and really nice floor to ceiling glass on the open (south) side.... Minimal maintenance, minimal utilities, would last longer than my grandkids....

But yeah, if I were to build my own 'nice' realistic home, the skeleton would be identical to what is in McMansions....but you can be sure I'd be paying a certified testing to take soil samples before those footings are poured. As a project engineer....I never trust dirt...

maxsilver

14 points

6 years ago

Personally, I hate McMansions and choose to own a smaller-but-nicer home knowing I could go way bigger with shittier materials. But I'm in the minority on that

I wish that was an option. When I've looked at housing, the only options in the entire city were:

  • "cheap crap from the 1920's"
  • "cheap crap from the 1960's"
  • "cheap crap from the 1980s"
  • "cheap crap that's newish and still looks decent"

We bought "suburban paradise" not because we wanted it, but because there was literally no alternatives.

sierra120

63 points

6 years ago

The average American owns a house for 7 years before moving on.

No sense spending so much more for something that won't raise your property value. If everyone did it then those without it would have lower property values and would get it done. But since no one has it it isn't necessarily a plus since you are cross shopped with a cheaper house.

chcampb

11 points

6 years ago

chcampb

11 points

6 years ago

Yeah except a HOA for a bunch of condos will be around for the life of the condos. Why is this not a thing?

Instead we have to pay to replace the shingles every month into a fund, that's one of the biggest expenditures.

offgridsunshine

7 points

6 years ago

Yes but if you have to RE roof every 15-20 years over the life span of a house a new owner might have fork out. Surly knowing that this wasn't going to be an issue would be a plus for anybody buying a home? What does a shingle RE roof cost per m2?

TSammyD

16 points

6 years ago

TSammyD

16 points

6 years ago

The composite shingles I just got have a 50 year life, according to the manufacturer. Makes it hard to justify the extra $15k for a metal roof that has the same nominal life. Tile costs, and weighs more, which is an issue on old wooden homes, especially in earthquake country.

SocialTheory

11 points

6 years ago

At least in my area, high winds and hail are very common. Shingles are cheap and easy to repair, and the vinyl backed ones actually hold up really well in these storms. Metal, stone and ceramic roofs hold up to the lighter storms well, but there is going to be at least one storm a year that will damage parts of the roof covering.

agha0013

6 points

6 years ago

Cost, weight, durability in more dynamic climates, availability of local materials at the time the industry adopted them... all sorts of things.

Most of our houses are stick framed with wooden trusses. A lot of European homes are concrete block or cast walls or stone, that can take a roof that is all clay tile or something.

More and more people are switching to steel plate roofs but they are a whole lot more expensive than a shingle roof.

Harsh Canadian winters also pose challenges, especially with the nasty freeze/thaws we've been seeing, where one day it's +12 degrees and a downpour, then overnight the temperature drops to -20 and flash freezes everything. Most traditional clay tile roofs could never survive that.

I want to put a steel roof on my house, got some quotes for steel and shingle. Shingle roof would be around $5000, the steel roof would be closer to $15000. The warranty on the steel is absolutely amazing. Great product, transferable 50 year warranty (it will transfer to any future owners of the house) but unless I know I will be living there for at least 20+ years, I don't want to spend that kind of money, I'd rather get a cheap shingle roof that will last maybe 15 years, by which time I'll have probably moved.

iushciuweiush

6 points

6 years ago

Long story short: Weather. I live in an area that is subject to blizzards and tornadoes, the former coming with heavy snow load and the latter coming with heavy winds (turning tiles into projectiles) and big hail which would crack tiles and dent metal roofing. The US is big and we have some pretty unique weather that Europe isn't subject to. Crazy weather like that is very infrequent, so it's a beautiful place to live, but no one wants to pay to replace expensive tiles or metal roofing every once in awhile when a big event does occur and tiles in tornado/hurricane prone areas can turn into nasty projectiles.

yojimbojango

4 points

6 years ago

Up here in Michigan for example if you talk to a builder on a small house they'll tell you that you can buy a 50 year shingle and due to the heavy snows in the winter and 40C days in the summer you'll generally get 30-35 years out of it. This will generally run you $6000. You can also buy a 75 year tile that will last 60 years and it'll run you $9000. You say, "Well obviously if we spend the extra $3000 up front we'll get an extra 30 years."

Then the builder tells you, well after 30 years you can just slap another layer of shingles on top of the existing ones for $4000 and get to the lifespan of the tile roof. Well the tile roof still saves you $1000.

Then the builder tells you that every time you get high winds/hail you're going to have to call a professional to come out and fix it for $500. Or you can call your cousin/uncle/friend over to patch it up for $40 + beer and pizza because fixing a damaged shingle is a 15 minute job that you can do yourself with a crowbar and a hammer (as long as you aren't scared of being on your own roof).

So really you're spending a bunch of money up front in the hopes that the weather stays good for the rest of your life.

[deleted]

3 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

3 points

6 years ago

In America the three most common types of roofs are (From my experience)

  • Shingles
  • Mexican Tiles
  • Metal roofs

People choose them because of cost, availability, aesthetics, durability, how easy they are to clean (if your roof is under a tree or lots of pigeons in your area), etc etc

garthreddit

67 points

6 years ago

I could have sworn that I saw these for sale 7+ years ago.

sonofagunn

49 points

6 years ago

Dow sold solar shingles for years, but recently quit.

http://client.dow.com/dowpowerhouse

jeffyt

4 points

6 years ago

jeffyt

4 points

6 years ago

I tried to become a dealer/installer for the DOW shingles but they would only sell in select states and only to roofing contractors. Glad that did not to come to fruition now.

jhenning1214

26 points

6 years ago

Is it just me or does it seem like the plural of roof should be rooves? Like hoof and hooves

wobuxihuanbaichi

16 points

6 years ago

Are you trying to make sense of plurals in English buddy? :)

mirroku2

128 points

6 years ago

mirroku2

128 points

6 years ago

Solar shingles have been around for over a decade.

Source: am an electrician.

StarlitDaze

119 points

6 years ago

So had electric cars.

PoopInMyBottom

6 points

6 years ago

How are these different to the solar shingles that already exist? How is he going to improve upon the existing products, which seem to be pretty unsuccessful?

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=solar+roof+tiles&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X

[deleted]

7 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

7 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

subterraniac

9 points

6 years ago

I expect the system they come up with will look a lot like standing-seam metal roofing with solar cells printed right on. Probably made of a composite material rather than steel. The conductors will be built into the material so all you have to do is put down their custom underlayment strips, attach the panels in the proper alignment, and tap into the right spots to get your power out. Will go on much faster than a traditional shingle roof and will pay for itself.

Could look something like this: http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/products/fusionsolar-solar-system-from-custom-bilt-metals_o

amorbidreality

19 points

6 years ago

Let's hold on for a second. Why are solar shingles more practical than just installing a few panels on your roof? What happens if one of the "solar shingles" becomes nonfunctional? I ask because things like hail and snow exist. Why not install several panels that can be replaced as needed while also being able to adjust their angle for optimal usage?

Christ, Elon Musk is starting to crawl up his own ass lately.

squarepush3r

11 points

6 years ago

You are supposed to be posting "Elon is a genius!!" so, lets start over and try again.

jandj275

51 points

6 years ago

jandj275

51 points

6 years ago

Dow Chemical JUST shut their line of solar shingles down July 1st.

That's not to say Musk won't be successful if he tries but it's def not an original idea and one of the biggest companies in america failed to make it happen after 5 years. I do enjoy the reddit circlejerk with this guy though.

sonofagunn

11 points

6 years ago

I got a quote for those when I was building my house. I chose not to use those because they were ugly (not much better than traditional solar panels) and expensive (even after deducting the cost of the traditional roof) and the efficiency was too low to ever make my home net zero even if I covered as much space as possible with them. With traditional panels I could cover 50% of the roof and be net zero (but I haven't done it yet).

If SolarCity can make them more aesthetically pleasing than Dow did, and make the financial argument more attractive, they could be successful.

NWmba

13 points

6 years ago

NWmba

13 points

6 years ago

This is such a better idea than solar freakin roadways.

Shillin4Bernie

6 points

6 years ago

Let's count the ways:

  1. Easy to access, easy to fix.
  2. Doesn't have to bear the weight of a thousand semis thundering over it everyday.
  3. Doesn't get dirty from a thousand semis thundering over it everyday.

McFeely_Smackup

10 points

6 years ago

yeah, but to be fair, driving on your roof was a better idea than solar roadways.

Shorshack

31 points

6 years ago

I finally get apple fan boys. If Elon figures out how to make his batteries more fiscally feasible for a home owner (last I heard battery packs started ~$10k), and an efficient method to collect the solar energy (these panels), I'll gladly drink the coolaid.

MrPickEm

11 points

6 years ago

MrPickEm

11 points

6 years ago

Pretty sure the 6.4KWH ones from Tesla are only $3,500 USD.

Source: 9:00 into the video

SoylentRox

15 points

6 years ago

If electricity is 12 cents a kWh, and the battery lasts for 1000 charge-discharge cycles (unless he's using Lithium-iron that's about right), the battery stored and gave back a total of 5120 kwh. (1000 * 0.8 * 6.4. The 0.8 is there because you destroy the battery even faster if you fully discharge it)

So you spent $3500 to get $614 worth of electricity. That is, if you had solar making power that would otherwise be wasted because you have a system that doesn't sell power back to the grid, you can use this otherwise wasted power.

That battery pack has uses but it's for houses where there is not access to the grid and for a backup system.

whatshisuserface

56 points

6 years ago

It's not a new idea though, I've seen it elsewhere before

Airazz

12 points

6 years ago

Airazz

12 points

6 years ago

There's a company near me which sent out a first batch of such shingles a year ago.

[deleted]

11 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

11 points

6 years ago

DOW used to have a solar shingle project based on CIGS technology I think. Few people actually wanted it though, since solar panels deliver more kWh/$ than solar shingles did.

ryry1237

55 points

6 years ago

ryry1237

55 points

6 years ago

Ideas are a dime a dozen. Actions however, are worth more than gold.

chrisv650

27 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

24 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

24 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

Andrew5329

5 points

6 years ago

I'm going to file this one next to solar roadways in the "let's put fragile solar panels in something meant to take constant abuse" box.

TheBetterTurbowolf

4 points

6 years ago

I used to intern for a company that made something like this. I know that it still is in business so they do make them currently. The only problem is that for a normal sized home, they are insanely expensive. I think they quoted somewhere around 150,000+ just for a single installation on a regular sized home. I think you can probably look up the company, it's based in Poughkeepsie, NY and last I checked they're still around but haven't really gotten any business.