Types of Renewable Energy You Could Add to Your New Home
For a brief moment in April of 2021, the state of California came extremely close to being completely powered by renewable energy alone. During a cool, sunny morning, the California Independent System Operator reported that 94.5 percent of the state´s energy came from renewable energy sources. It was a fleeting moment, only lasting about four seconds, and occurred during a time of year where abundant sunshine and cool weather reduced the overall energy demand. However, the fact that one of the world´s largest economies, the state of California, was momentarily producing enough clean power to approach 100 percent renewable energy generation, was certainly a threshold moment.
There are still several challenges that renewable energies face in order to become the primary source of energy powering our economy. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that:
“The annual share of U.S. electricity generation from renewable energy sources will rise from 20% in 2021, to 22% in 2022, and to 24% in 2023, as a result of continuing increases in solar and wind generating capacity.”
Though that is certainly an improvement from past decades, the goal of a de-carbonized net zero economy is still far away. Challenges related to the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources, the need for stable base loads, limited storing options, and the issue of effective transmission of renewable energy sources still need to be addressed in the near future. Despite these challenges, however, many homeowners today have a variety of options when it comes to generating renewable energy on their property.
What Is a Net Zero Home?
A net zero home is defined as “a building with net zero energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.” For homeowners in California designing a luxury custom home, it is entirely viable to design a net zero home that supplies its own clean, renewable energy.
Read on as we will briefly outline two of the most common types of residential renewable energy options available to homeowners in California. We will then explain why Conrado Home Builders can help you design and build a net zero energy custom home.
Solar Energy: The Most Common Renewable Energy Option for Custom Homes in California
California is a sunny state. In “foggy” San Francisco, we get an average of 260 sunny days per year. In terms of sun percentage (% sun), which measures the percentage of time between sunrise and sunset that sunshine reaches the ground, San Francisco has a 66 percent rating. That percentage is significantly higher than the national average. The abundance of sun explains why residential solar PV installations are booming throughout the state.
As of 2019, 6.6 percent of California homes had solar panels, and that number should only continue to rise due to the California solar mandate. In fact, according to the California Energy Commission, in 2018 almost 14 percent of the state´s energy came from solar energy sources. That amount equaled more energy generation than coal, oil, and nuclear energy combined. Currently, the state of California has enough solar power installed to generate electricity for 10,312,387 homes.
California’s Solar Requirements
The state-mandated building code requires every new construction home to have a solar photovoltaic (PV) system as an electricity source. The code went into effect on January 1, 2020, and applies to both single-family homes and multi-family homes that are up to three stories high. The mandate states that the solar PV system needs to be large enough to meet the annual electricity usage of the building. This essentially means that builders estimate the energy demands for the building based on factors such as the building’s floor space, the specific climate zone, and the energy efficiency and thermal performance of the building.
With Conrado Home Builders, we can help you design and implement the best solar energy installation for your new custom home build or for your luxury remodel. Not only can we help you choose the best solar panels and solar PV equipment for your home, but our focus on green building technologies and techniques also helps to reduce your home´s overall energy demand. We have decades of experience in building the most energy efficient homes. Our pre-construction and building team can help you reduce the total energy requirements for your home through focusing on passive solar design, high efficiency insulation, and an airtight building envelope.
Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems for the Home
Geothermal energy is a type of renewable energy taken from the Earth’s core where high temperatures can be tapped. Though geothermal electricity accounted for 5.94 percent of California’s in-state generation portfolio, this type of renewable energy is generally not feasible on a household/residential level.
Geothermal Heating and Cooling Are Still Options
However, Conrado Home Builders can help you design and build a geothermal heating and cooling system for your home. This type of green, renewable heating and cooling system transfers the extra heat from below ground into your home during the winter month, and it transfers the extra heat from your home into the ground in the summer months. A geothermal heating and cooling system is a great way to drastically reduce your home´s heating and cooling loads by relying on the steady temperatures of the earth underneath your home.
Why Hire Conrado Home Builders for your Net Zero Home?
When you hire Conrado Home Builders to build your new home or a large renovation, you will receive legendary quality. We care about the homes we build, the impact they have, and want to make sure that every home we build looks and functions like new even after decades of occupancy.
When it comes to renewable energy systems, we want to make sure that your custom home “fits” the landscape where it is located. Through careful design and orientation, we can help your home take advantage of the elements to reduce overall energy needs. Our building team will also offer you expert advice on the best types of renewable energy options for your home.
At Conrado Home Builders we firmly believe that superior quality directly ties into sustainability. Comfort, beauty, durability, and superior quality are the foundation of our commitment to building you the most sustainable, net zero energy home possible. To find out more about renewable energy, contact Conrado Home Builders today!