Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Cottle Zero Energy Home (1st ZNE home in CA)



All over the world, a higher level of emphasis is being placed on environmental sustainability as evidenced by the increase in efforts towards energy efficiency and green building. Countries are in constant search of new technologies with the promise of reducing carbon footprint and optimizing the use of available energy without causing harm to the environment. The state of California is one of a few places that is achieving this goal. This is best represented through their ambitious goal of making all new homes zero net energy by the year 2020. Some might think that this is too big of an endeavor, but the state is slowly making the necessary steps to finally show the world that this is possible.

The Cottle Home

As part of commencing the efforts towards zero net energy, One Sky Homes has introduced The Cottle Zero Energy Home, which is the very first of its kind and has been lauded by the California Energy Commission. For those who would like to experience what it is like to be living in such a place, it may not be an easy feat as it comes with a hefty price tag of $2.2 million. More than the luxurious build of the home, obviously, its biggest selling point is its efficient use of energy. Generally speaking, one house in California will most likely consume energy worth over $100 monthly. On the other hand, with The Cottle (in San Jose, CA), the energy consumption is $15 (or usually less, due to standard utility connection fees) monthly.

The Mandate for a Greener Future


The inception of the Cottle Home was part of the idea of transforming the entire state into a greener place and it serves as an example for other states to have similar initiatives. California has recently mandated that all new home construction must be zero net energy (ZNE) by 2020. All new commercial buildings in the state must be ZNE by 2030...


Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Topaz Solar Farm has 550 megawatts/ powers 160,000+ California homes



The project size of the Topaz Solar Farm is 550 megawatts, which is enough to power 160,000 California homes. It is located on the northwestern portion of the Carrisa Plains, San Luis Obispo County, California. The location was chosen after a thorough review of potential sites in the state. Some of the factors that were considered include current land use, environmental concerns, available solar resources, and proximity to existing electrical transmission lines.

Reports have said that the solar farm has more than nine million photovoltaic panels mounted across 9.6 square miles of land. When fully functional, the Topaz Solar Farm displaces more than 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year. The amount is equal to removing almost 100,000 cars off the road.

The Topaz Solar Farm has provided around 400 construction jobs for over three years, which are worth more than $190 million. Local suppliers have earned around $50 million from the project. Around $14 million in sales taxes were generated during the construction, and up to $400,000 a year in new property tax revenues will be collected from the renewable energy project.

Pacific Gas and Electric will buy the electricity from the solar farm under a power purchase agreement. The agreement is said to last for 25 years. Utilities in California have been mandated by law to get a third of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.