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Monday, October 1, 2018

District of Columbia Policy Makes Going Solar Easy For Homeowners

Congress Extends Solar Incentives Through 2018

October 1st 2018
Power companies are fighting an uphill battle they are sure to lose and they’re blaming customers who are taking advantage of massive government savings programs. Specifically, they are blaming District of Columbia State Rebates that incentivize homeowners to use clean energy by reducing solar power projects to $0 installations.
Until now, solar panels were less about saving money and more about environmental protection. In order to get more people to switch to clean solar energy the federal and state governments are highly incentivizing homeowners who live in specific zip codes to go solar with $1000’s of dollars in rebates and incentives that can cover 100% of the costs associated with a new solar panel installation.
When homeowners visit Energybillcruncher to see if they qualify, many are shocked to learn that solar panels can be installed on their home with no upfront costs after rebates and solar incentives. You can find out which solar incentives are offered in your area by using your zip code. You can even use this tool to help calculate your savings by entering your utility provider and your average power bill. In many cases, customers are saving up to 50% on the cost of powering their home each year.

How Do Solar Programs Work?

Solar panels are much cheaper today than they were 10 years ago, which means millions of homeowners that could not previously afford to do so are switching to solar. District of Columbia Homeowners that qualify for this new program no longer have to buy solar panels. With rebates being as high as they are, homeowners are able to drastically reduce their power bill without dealing with the upfront costs of installing solar panels. Before, solar companies would lose money if they were to rent or lease solar panels; now, one of the nation’s largest solar power providers now claims to be signing up a new solar panel customer every 5 minutes because of these incentivized programs.
Quick Summary: In the past it used to take up to 10 years to recoup your solar investment – now, with 2018 Solar programs, homeowners can use Solar Incentives to offset the cost of their solar installation and start saving money immediately. Click here to see if you qualify >>

How Do I Find Out If My Home Is Eligible?

Click on your state below to check for solar incentives in your region. Once your home is approved, you will have an opportunity to compare the best savings offers in your area.

Act Now & Start Saving Money Immediately

Visit Energybillcruncher and type in your location info to see if your home is eligible for solar. The best part about determining your potential savings is that there is absolutely no obligation to do anything until you realize the savings that are on their way to you. We are experiencing some of the highest rebate, tax credits, and other incentives we have seen in years and many of them will expire this year. In some installations customers are saving up to $14,000 on the setup of a whole-home solar panel system. What would you do with an extra $14,000 in your pocket AND lower power bills?
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Energy efficiency for all: Affordable energy efficient solutions for low income households.

 
This article was written by Fanyu Lin, Chief Executive Officer of Fluxus LLC, and Michael Gallagher, Technology & Business Innovation Executive Advisor of Fluxus LLC

Publish Date: September 28, 2018
Getting to 1000 Solutions: 
More Info
Article Link: Solar Impulse Foundation News



At present, rising material costs, land availability, a shortage of skilled workers and general construction industry inefficiencies impede both investment and innovation in affordable energy efficient solutions for the underserved and underperforming low income housing market.

At 
Fluxus LLC, an impact enterprise committed to bringing aesthetic energy-efficient building designs coupled with prefabrication in highly automated modern factories to low-income housing sector, we capitalize on the counter-intuitive relationship between housing cost and energy efficiency, believing that lower cost homes tend to be far less energy efficient than higher cost ones.

The low income housing sector is huge, if we could address this performance gap by reconstructing the low income housing value chain, it would have a tremendous environmental impact at a significant scale. It is through scale that the net zero energy use and zero emission demonstration homes that we see today will become affordable for the masses.



Facts
  • ~40% of all energy use and emissions come from buildings, ~20% from residences.
  • Since the world’s median annual income is ~$10,000, the maximum housing cost is ~$3,000/yr. for half the world. (~$40,000 for home ownership).
  • There are approximately 1.5 billion households in the world. About 26% are considered “low income”.
  • Higher cost renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind are exceptionally difficult for low income families.
  • Today’s building standards are much more energy efficient. But 70% of all homes were built before 1970 (to much lower standards). Low income families typically live in older, less efficient homes. Typically these older homes are more than 50% less efficient than new homes.
The underserved and underperforming low income housing market

If the place where you live was built before 1980, chances are your energy use is about 50% higher than new one built today. Imagine the challenges faced by low income families. Many live in the oldest and least energy efficient buildings in the world. They lack the financial resources to make energy efficiency investments. Their utility bills represent a much larger percentage of their household budget. The trend toward urbanization has contributed to a worldwide shortage of affordable inner city housing. This in turn leads to much higher rental costs.

Low income households in the US and across the world consume a lot of energy and emit a lot of greenhouse gasses. Most families live in inner-city, multi-family units that are the oldest and most inefficient housing stock nationally. In colder climates, 43% of all public housing have heating units that are over 20 years old. Many use electrical resistance heat which is inexpensive to install but highly inefficient. (1)

The environmental impact is surprisingly large. In New York City for example, multifamily residences account for 23% of all the city’s GHG emissions. This figure is 50% higher that all emissions attributed to all vehicles. Buildings constructed before 1980 account for more than 70% of these emissions (2). On a global scale, assuming that residential buildings account for 13% of our global energy consumption (3) and that at least 30% of all households are classified as low income (4), we can deduce that the global low income housing market represents somewhere around 4% of our total energy consumption, approximately 16 quads (quadrillion BTU’s). Therefore, simply bringing this sector to current performance standards has the potential to reduce global energy consumption by about 4 quads. Corresponding emissions reduction potential would be amount to approximately 300 million metric tons of CO2.

Creative solutions to reduce the costs and environmental footprint of low income housing

Retrofits

The pros and cons of deep energy retrofits of existing building stock are well documented. Many innovative solutions and incentives have been developed through government sponsored programs such as Build America in the U.S. (5), the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive in the EU (6), and others. Unfortunately, adoptions rates of new solutions have been very slow for the low income housing market. Complexity and the lack of viable economic drivers are formidable headwinds to meaningful progress.

New Construction

The new construction low income housing market is an obvious place where progress can be made in a meaningful way. In a May 2018 report, the National Low income Housing Coalition estimates a shortage of 7.1 million affordable and available rental homes for needy families (7). At Fluxus LLC, we have concluded that a new approach is necessary to address this urgent need. At present, rising material costs, land availability, a shortage of skilled workers and general construction industry inefficiencies impede both investment and innovation. We believe however that the overall cost of construction and ownership can be significantly reduced without sacrificing quality by stepping back and reconstructing the low income housing value chain.

Our goal is to build new, aesthetic and energy efficient residences at a price point that is affordable for most low income families. In the U.S. according to HUD statistics, this equates to an average monthly cost for a four person household at approximately $986 per month.

It’s a formidable challenge that requires good design, innovative materials and modern construction practices. We leverage the efficiencies gained by moving construction from current site assembled processes to an industrialized setting. While prefabrication isn’t a new concept, enabling technologies such as building controls, robotics and digitization can now be inexpensively integrated into the building process with reliable quality and high performance. Building envelopes are designed and manufactured using high efficiency, low carbon footprint insulation materials.

FluxHouse buildings are constructed using only nine standardized prefabricated panels. The panels can be arranged to create a variety of aesthetic, spacious floor plans to abundantly leverage natural lighting, maximize living space and optimize energy efficiency. Because the number of components are dramatically reduced, manufacture is optimized for the factory environment. The panels themselves use high efficiency continuous insulation which exceed current performance standards. Quick connection features simplify installations processes at the construction site.

FluxHouse designs can also optionally leverage advances in renewable energy and energy storage technologies by integrating them into the manufacturing process. With many countries reaching grid parity sometime between 2020 and 2030, there is additional potential to reduce the cost of ownership and further reduce GHG emissions. Coupled with intelligent urban planning, we are not far off from envisioning net zero communities within large metropolitan settings.

Summary

Global urbanization trends have resulted in an urgent need for innovation in the low income housing market. We believe that the cost and energy efficiency of low income housing can be dramatically improved through innovative design, industrialization of construction processes and in interdisciplinary collaboration. Successful implementation will have a very significant, favorable impact on our environment.

References
  1. http://nlihc.org/article/national-consumer-law-center-urges-hud-strengthen-its-energy-efficiency- record
  2. http://energyefficiencyforall.org/sites/default/files/ DBLC_Recognizing_the_Benefits_of_Efficiency_Part_B_1.10%20%281%29.pdf
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20170727110053/https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/ieo/pdf/ 0484(2016).pdf
  4. https://www.prb.org/us-working-poor-families/https://www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/residential-buildings-integration
  5. https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-efficiency/buildings
  6. http://nlihc.org/press/releases/9493
Contributing authors
  • Michael Gallagher, Technology & Business Innovation Executive Advisor
  • Fanyu Lin, Chief Executive Officer
  • Harry Stendhal, Chief Visionary Officer

The views expressed are from the author, and don’t necessarily reflect those of the Solar Impulse Foundation.

Guest posts are articles written by our Members, Partners, key industry leaders or experts about clean technology trends and innovations that are interesting for the Solar Impulse Foundation ecosystem.


Related News:  Fluxus LLC joins World Alliance for Efficient Solutions launched by Solar Impulse Foundation


About Solar Impulse Foundation

Bridging the gap between ecology and economy – One of the first to envision ecology through the lens of profitability, Bertrand Piccard has always advocated that protection of the environment would become a reality only if it was perceived as economically viable and requiring no financial or behavioural sacrifices. He actively speaks out against the absurdity of old and polluting devices and systems, and promotes the benefits of new existing efficient technologies and solutions to motivate governments and industries to take action. A way to prove that solving climate change – rather than an expensive problem – is a fantastic market opportunity.

About World Alliance for Efficient Solutions

The World Alliance for Efficient Solutions, established by the Solar Impulse Foundation, brings together the main actors involved in developing, financing or promoting products, services, processes and technologies that protect the environment in a profitable way. To this end, we will assess the solutions submitted by our Members, with the help of independent technical and financial Experts, and select 1000 of the most promising ones. They will be labelled as Efficient Solutions and presented to governments, businesses and institutions at COP 24 to encourage them to adopt more ambitious environmental targets and energy policies.

About Fluxus LLC

Fluxus LLC was founded in 2013 to develop the FluxSystem, a prefabricated building technology platform that provides an efficient way to deliver sustainable and affordable housing with intelligent manufacturing and industrialized method of construction to build in communities across the economic spectrum.

 
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