Archive for April 2015
Those of you familiar with the over 100 Blogs I’ve written in the last 5 years (either from the Homebuilder perspective or the Green Homebuilder perspective) will remember that a consistent and constant theme I use to explain aspects of our business is supply and demand. Of course my belief ever since studying Economics in college is that supply and demand pretty much explains everything but I’ll leave that for a different Blog.
For this Blog I’m going to update a Blog from a few years back. In that earlier Blog I made the statement that the future of Green homebuilding was on the demand side of the equation. I felt that the supply side was constrained by size limitations and the only gains toward true sustainable net zero energy homebuilding would come from product innovations that accomplish what today’s modern homeowners want in their homes but use far less energy in doing so.
Let’s remember that every home has a “supply” of energy to it, and that every home has a “demand” for the use of that energy. The “grid” is the supply of energy in 99% of all homes. Net zero energy and sustainable homebuilding are an impossibility using the grid for supply. Net zero energy means the demand for the energy EQUALS the supply of the energy. The only way to create net zero energy is that the demander of the energy needs to also be the supplier of the energy. If the demand equals the supply then a net zero energy situation has been created and that’s the true definition of what we refer to as “sustainable” homebuilding. The home requires nothing outside of itself or from Mother Nature to “sustain” itself. Its the ultimate goal of Green homebuilding as the grid requires tremendous natural resources to exist and creates CO2 emissions in the process of creating the energy homes require. A truly “Unsustainable” strategy.
Solar energy is the answer for Green homebuilders in providing the sustainable energy for homes. The logical place to put solar is the roof. Therefore the amount of power that can be supplied is limited by the size of the roof. There is also an orientation issue but for the most part the amount of power solar energy can provide is limited by the size of the roof. As a builder of mostly urban infill townhomes, City Ventures has covered the roof with as much solar power as the roof can handle. Townhome roofs are smaller than typical SFD homes. This is why I made the statement that demand would be where the next achievements towards net zero energy would be made. If a 2KW system covers the roof completely than getting more supply is impossible.
But I was wrong for two reasons.
As it turns out innovations on the demand side whereby products that use energy get better and better at using LESS energy have been slow in coming. LED lighting is probably the only real breakthrough of any magnitude. Nothing else has made much of a dent.
But two breakthroughs on the supply side have made my years-ago statement that demand is where we’d see the breakthroughs completely wrong.
I’ll talk about both of them next time.