Nature to the Grid: Renewable Homes
The green movement has no doubt tipped into the public’s consciousness, and yet still hasn’t been consolidated into a feasible, economic starting point. I attempted to unify the myriad of renewable energy and consumption/waste innovations in my last post with the concept of ‘nature to the grid’, and will now attempt to expand on it further. The question is where can the average person start incorporating this concept into their life to not just benefit their ecolistic mentality and environment, but to save and make more money?
In continuance of our nature to the grid dialogue, I’ve come to the conclusion that it starts, from both an ecological and economical standpoint, with people taking a proactive role in turning their home into a renewable power station… turning their home into a ‘tree’ if you will.
This intuition has been a long build for me, from the passion that has developed over my life as an environmental scientist, to my first company doing insurance adjusting assessment and appraisals on homes damaged by hurricanes, to the Powering the Planet event at the World Science Festival in NYC last year where representatives of all areas of green power concluded that the home needs to become a power station, to the West Coast Green conference in Silicon Valley last September, which I thought was going to be filled with crazy energy innovations, and was instead 90% green building companies, not to mention a huge model green home in the middle of the trade floor. When you take all this into consideration and add on the bad debt/mortgages causing the current economic collapse, the realization hits. Our world is dealing with a natural resource crisis in building our homes and buildings, and the place to innovate and make money, the place to really seed this whole green movement is with the home.
Turning the home into an energy efficient power station is the way to take the green/clean/sustainable movement to the world and actually change it… one home at a time. If you use thermoregulated windows and wall materials, energy efficient home appliances, and solar installations and fuel cells, you’re on your way to having a self-sustaining renewable home that doesn’t need energy from the grid. It’s almost like a revitalization of the cottage industry, in which everyone can get involved with their own home, and those that are successful with energy efficiency and renewable energy systems will reach zero energy (needing no energy from the grid), and even produce a surplus to sell back to the grid! Add in growing your own food or buying locally, collecting your own rainwater, recycling systems that pay you for your garbage and prevent materials from heading to the landfill, and you’re home becomes a renewable system that contributes to a renewable community.
Think of the home as an individual tree contributing to the forest… it needs to pull it’s own weight by generating its own energy and then sharing that with the ecosystem in a symbiotic relationship. Now that’s nature to the grid.
I had a great time with my friend Doug of Faithful Investments in Philadelphia this past week. Doug is a property investor/developer who likes to buy worn down houses, perform complete renovations, and then rent out to tenants. Say we test out various green building technologies over the coming years, making the homes more energy efficient, allowing us to charge a premium on rent by lowering utility bills for tenants, and upping the asset value of the house… not to mention helping the environment.
This seems likes such a practical solution to restore faith in the banks and the mortgage industry, as it will drastically boost the asset value of the home as well as the passive income potential! It’s investors like Doug that are in a position to make great change, as most people are clueless and aren’t able to afford green consultants to tell them what to do, and certainly aren’t in a position to get a loan with the state of the economy.
So let’s take it a step at a time. Work with real estate investors and developers (who have clout with banks) to implement green innovations that will make homes more profitable, while allowing the economy to gradually recover. Basing off this experience, develop a green building program to help the average person upgrade their home with energy efficient materials and renewable energy systems, which they can capitalize on when the lending industry has restored confidence and is granting loans again.
Conserve energy, lower utility bills, generate your own power that reverses the grid and puts passive income in your pocket. The home is the testing ground.