Taking advantage of the resources available

What if they paid people to just come up with good ideas.  They don’t have be ideas that make you rich.  They can just be good ideas.  Here’s one.

Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, alternative energy was hot.  Jimmy Carter’s investment tax credits and an energy crisis had created a new booming business.  Everybody was talking solar energy.  At the time, when my Dad wasn’t teaching Current Events in high school, he was selling, talking and living solar energy.

Velva swimming pool parking lot

There was this little town down the road from where we lived in North Dakota called Velva.  They wanted to jump on the bandwagon and heat their new community swimming pool with solar – and not just the sun.  My dad went out to look at the situation and give them a bid.  The problem was, Velva only had about two thousand people and not much of a budget for anything, let alone a solar heated pool.

The consensus was to put several panels on a nearby roof and pump the heat to the pool.  Problem was…that solution cost two to three times more than they had.

Now the pool hadn’t been built yet and the only work done was the excavation for the pool and the parking lot next to it.

What is a solar panel but just a way to collect the sun’s heat a send it where you need it.  What is one of the hottest things we encounter in our daily lives? Asphalt!

My Dad’s solution was to run PVC pipe under the parking lot and circulate the pool water through it it.  No solar panels, just asphalt. Velva got it’s solar heated pool and it was cheap…and under budget.

My Dad didn’t make much off of the sale.  But he should have.

There’s a ton of phrases for this – thinking outside the box, taking the road less traveled, etc.

Find your own parking lot and come up with an idea.  Who knows … maybe you WILL get rich.


I can be reached on Twitter at @clayforsberg


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