I know what you’re thinking, how can a McMansion be green – especially with tiny homes becoming popular – and when you see the photo below you’ll be even more skeptical. Add in the $2.5 million price tag and it sounds like a bridge-to-nowhere disaster. But before you pass judgement let’s learn more about the home.
It’s a 2,700 square-foot house with two stories, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and an oversized two-car garage. Not your average American home, more like something designed for a wealthy neighbor. And that fits because this home has the best green fixtures money can buy. The multi-million dollar price purchases:
- Configurable solar panels
- High thermal efficiency building materials
- Solar water heater
- Smart thermostat (rooms can have different temperatures)
- High velocity, insulated heating/cooling air system
- Ultra-efficient windows
- Full details – pdf, page 2
The design allows the National Institute of Standards and Technology to turn the home into a laboratory, where they will test all the features – with no one home. Lights will turn on in the morning and after work. There will be fake microwaving and fake cheering for a football team on the TV. Garage doors will open and close several times. All to simulate the energy use of a typical family of four.
All kidding aside, this is a serious scientific experiment, “buildings account for 40 % of the primary energy consumption and 72 % of the electricity consumption in the United States, while accounting for 40 % of the CO2 emissions…will develop and deploy the measurement science to move the nation towards net-zero energy, high-performance buildings in a cost-effective manner while maintaining a healthy indoor environment.”
It’s a great goal – to have net-zero energy homes – but why did they have to do their research on a McMansion?
Learn more about the home – Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF)
Continue reading Federal government builds a net-zero energy McMansion
Here’s how they did it, and how we can too
This is what can happen when citizens and government agree that it’s worth spending a bit more for clean, carbon-free power:
German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity – equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity – through the midday hours of Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank has said … Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts of solar power fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50% of the nation’s midday electricity needs.
That’s right—half of all of Germany was powered by electricity generated by solar plants. That’s incredible. It was also world record-breaking. Germany is pretty much singlehandedly proving that solar can be a major, reliable source of power—even in countries that aren’t all that sunny.
And it’s the result, primarily, of two forces:
keep reading – Last Weekend, Half of…
Continue reading Last weekend, half of Germany was running on solar power
Unlike much of the rest of the economy, the solar industry is growing rapidly. New solar installations in California jumped by 21 percent last year. An increasing amount of that growth is from “solar leasing.”
What’s commonly called “solar leasing” is now the most popular way for homeowners to install solar electricity.
A solar company installs the panels for the customer for free or for a minimal cost. Then it sells the consumer the electricity for about 10 percent less than local utility rates.
SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, “before solar was more designed to those who could afford a large upfront cost of $20,000 to $25,000. Now the average person can go solar and just start saving money, there’s no investment.”
Rive says the option is so popular that in some markets his company has a waiting list of 4 to 6 months.
via Capital Public Radio
// Photo – Heritage Solar