August 2014


I am really shocked by this article. The idea that residential energy consumption could change so dramatically  in only 16 years is so amazing. Its like when we shifted to coal or later when we shifted to natural gas and then electricity. Only nobody is really talking about it.

 

http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=10271

March 7, 2013

Heating and cooling no longer majority of U.S. home energy use

For decades, space heating and cooling (space conditioning) accounted for more than half of all residential energy consumption. Estimates from the most recent Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), collected in 2010 and 2011 and released in 2011 and 2012, show that 48% of energy consumption in U.S. homes in 2009 was for heating and cooling, down from 58% in 1993. Factors underpinning this trend are increased adoption of more efficient equipment, better insulation, more efficient windows, and population shifts to warmer climates. The shift in how energy is consumed in homes has occurred even as per-household energy consumption has steadily declined.

While energy used for space conditioning has declined, energy consumption for appliances and electronics continues to rise. Although some appliances that are subject to federal efficiency standards, such as refrigerators and clothes washers, have become more efficient, the increased number of devices that consume energy in homes has offset these efficiency gains. Non-weather related energy use for appliances, electronics, water heating, and lighting now accounts for 52% of total consumption, up from 42% in 1993. The majority of devices in the fastest growing category of residential end-uses are powered by electricity, increasing the total amount of primary energy needed to meet residential electricity demand. As described in yesterday’s Today in Energy, increased electricity use has a disproportionate effect on the amount of total primary energy required to support site-level energy use.

Other notable trends in household energy consumption include:

  • The average U.S. household consumed 11,320 kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity in 2009, of which the largest portion (7,526 kWh) was for appliances, electronics, lighting, and miscellaneous uses.
  • On average, residents living in homes constructed in the 1980s consumed 77 million Btu of total energy at home. By comparison, those living in newer homes, built from 2000 to 2009, consumed 92 million Btu per household, which is 19% more.
  • Space heating accounted for 63% of natural gas consumed in U.S. homes in 2009; the remaining 37% was for water heating, cooking, and miscellaneous uses.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Most environmentalists go after coal fired power plants. They make a mistake. Methane is a much more dagerous and persistent gas and our houses use more and thus waste more of it.

http://needtoknow.nas.edu/energy/energy-use/home-work/

How We Use Energy

Home & Work

We use energy in homes and commercial buildings in similar ways. We keep rooms at comfortable temperatures, provide lighting, heat water for bathing and hand washing, and power computers, copiers, appliances, and other technologies. Many of these luxuries weren’t even possible 100 years ago—and they require a lot of energy. In 2008, 41% of all the energy consumed in the United States went to powering homes and commercial buildings.

Many of these luxuries weren’t even possible 100 years ago—and they require a lot of energy.

Whether you live in an apartment, townhouse, or a single-family home, chances are you want to keep it warm in cold weather. Data from 2006 show that space heating accounts for the greatest energy usage in the residential sector, with the rest devoted, in decreasing proportions, to appliances, water heating, and air-conditioning. At 7%, electronics usage surpasses washers/dryers and dishwashers, cooking, and computers in energy use. Appliances such as refrigerators, water heaters, and washers/dryers are all considerably more energy efficient than they used to be, thanks to legislation that requires appliances to meet strict standards.

In U.S. homes, natural gas is the most widely used energy source (49%), followed by the secondary energy source, electricity, at 39%. That’s reversed in commercial buildings, where electricity (55%) is depended on more than natural gas (32%). The commercial sector includes a broad array of building types, including offices, grocery stores, sports arenas, schools, shopping malls, hotels, and hospitals. Practically any space where groups gather falls into this economic sector. The energy needs for these different buildings vary but when viewed as a whole, more than half of the energy used in commercial buildings goes to just heating (36%) and lighting (21%). Within this sector, retail stores and service buildings use the most total energy (20%), followed by office buildings (17%) and schools (13%).

For a fuller picture of energy use in these sectors, explore Our Energy System.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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My friend, Margie Vicknair, lives in Southern Louisiana and recently leased a solar system for her residence. That is all I will say about Margie or the company she leases from. The purpose of this post is not to “out” Margie ashe is a single gal, nor to advertise a company, because we do not do that here. But it is to show that real people can get real benefits from solar leasing. (sorry i did not post this last week but I got on a tear about silly humans and i just could not let it go. and even sorry about the death of Robin Williams – nanoo nanoo)

http://solarprofessional.com/articles/finance-economics/the-evolution-of-residential-solar-leasing

 

The Evolution of Residential Solar Leasing

The introduction of the solar lease financing model and third-party system ownership has rapidly and fundamentally transformed the residential solar market in the US. One could argue that the advent of high-voltage string inverters in the US market in 2001 was the last transformative event of this magnitude. The solar lease is a once-ina- decade industry-changing product that has created vast opportunities for some integration firms, and competitive challenges and disadvantages for others. Examining the evolution of the residential solar lease, its current status, and likely future developments can assist integrators in navigating these often complex and quickly evolving system-financing mechanisms.

Solar Lease History

Many people contend that the residential solar lease was born in 2007 when Sunrun, a start-up finance company led by two Stanford business graduates, introduced its residential lease product. Lynn Jurich and Ed Fenster believed that the number one, two and three obstacles to the propagation of residential solar were—no surprise—money, money and money. Sunrun’s financial model was simple: Leverage investor resources and tax equity to purchase PV systems on behalf of residential homeowners, providing a financed solution with no or low up-front costs. The solar lease effectively simplifies a homeowner’s path to investing in solar. Under this model, the lease provider—not the residential homeowner— receives all rebates, tax credits and depreciation. The lease provider in turn offers a warranty on all aspects of the system and provides some degree of system monitoring and O&M over the typical 20-year lease term. At the end of the term, homeowners have three options: renew the lease, purchase the system at fair market value or have the system removed at no cost.

Residential solar lease providers typically offer two plan options.

Monthly payment plan. A monthly payment plan allows for zero money down or a low up-front investment, usually in the $1,000–$4,000 range. The homeowner agrees to purchase all the electricity produced by the PV system for the next 20 years at a rate lower than or equal to the local rate of conventional power per kilowatt hour. Depending on the specifics of the financing, the new rate may include an escalator that can be more beneficial to the lease provider than to the customer. The general lease approach provides the homeowner an opportunity to switch to solar power without having to come up with the system’s total cost out of pocket. It also streamlines the homeowner’s transaction by eliminating the need to claim the 30% federal tax credit.

Prepaid plan. Under this plan, the homeowner makes a large payment (typically about 65% of the total system cost) at the initiation of the lease term, but does not need to make another payment over the lease’s 20-year term. This approach enables the customer to have a PV system installed without shouldering the tax liability necessary to take full advantage of available tax credits. A prepaid plan may be ideal for a homeowner such as a retiree living on a fixed income, who is prepared to make a large investment in solar but does not have the tax appetite required to take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit. The system owner also typically benefits from an extended warranty, O&M services and system monitoring provided over the 20-year term.

Both of these options have proven to be very appealing to a large number of consumers who want to make the switch to solar. According the 2012 U.S. Solar Market Insight report published by GTM Research and SEIA, as of Q2 2012 solar leases finance approximately 70% of residential installations in the major markets of California and Colorado, 80% of the installations in Arizona and more than 45% in Massachusetts. The increase in third-party–owned residential systems is expected to continue across all mature solar markets.

Early on, solar lease providers faced challenges from a regulatory standpoint. Existing rebate and interconnection processes were based on the concept of sole ownership. However, Sunrun and other solar finance companies have worked diligently to resolve these issues. Residential solar lease financing is now available in at least 12 states. The primary limiter on these products is generally not regulatory issues, but regional financial viability based on available financial incentives, electricity costs and the region’s solar resources. Currently only a few states explicitly prohibit third-party residential financing.

Current Lease Models

As residential lease products continue to evolve, providers are developing and refining a range of business models. There are currently three solar leasing models.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To the deserts of Texas, there are so many places that humans want to live in the United States  that they should not. In particular where they could not under normal circumstances build houses. Especially someplace like Las Vegas.

So I think that most of Southern California should be torn down. You say, are you crazy? That is one of the nicest places to live on the planet. But it is not if you have to live on the resources available directly in the area. By that I mean Energy and Water.

Lawn Dude was unveiled Thursday by the Southern California Water Committee, a nonprofit advocacy group, and Clear Channel Outdoor CCO +0.80% as part of a campaign to get southern Californians to conserve water during the state’s protracted drought.

The new mascot will be popping up on billboards donated by Clear Channel Outdoor across the parched region, spouting catchphrases like “Don’t hose me man!” as reminders to refrain from overwatering lawns. On another billboard, Lawn Dude carries a martini glass holding a daisy and says, “I only drink 2 days a week”—a nod to limits on outdoor irrigation to twice a week in some communities.

Lawn Dude’s debut came two days after California’s emergency restrictions on residential water use went into effect Tuesday—the same day, incidentally, that a water main burst on Sunset Boulevard here, gushing 20 million gallons of the precious resource into city streets and flooding much of the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. City officials said the wasted water represented 4% of the city’s daily use.

The new restrictions ban residents from washing off driveways and sidewalks, and from watering landscapes or lawns in a way that causes “excess runoff.” Rule-breakers could be fined up to $500 a day.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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