Green Energy & Buildings
We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy-sun, wind and tide.
- Thomas Edison
Buildings in the U.S. account for:
- 39 percent of total energy consumption
- 71 percent of electricity consumption
- 39 percent of CO2 emissions
- 30 percent of raw materials used
- 30 percent of our waste outputs
Sustainable buildings are designed to be highly resource and energy efficient and therefore significantly reduce or eliminate these environmental impacts. Sustainable buildings further minimize negative environmental impacts by utilizing environmentally superior products such as recycled materials. Retrofitting existing buildings and constructing new buildings to be more energy efficient is vitally important.
In addition to making our built environment more energy efficient, there is a need to find ways to generate a greater share of the energy supply from renewable sources. These sources, such as solar, wind, waste incineration and biomass combustion, produce far fewer greenhouse gases than coal, natural gas and oil. In the future, Clearwater will continue to rely on large-scale centralized energy production, but will increasingly look to other ways to produce energy to feed the grid or directly supply power to homes and businesses.
Approximately 45 percent of the typical energy bill in the U.S. goes towards heating and cooling. Another 15 percent goes towards heating water for domestic use.
Source: "Where Does My Money Go?" (2009). EnergyStar.gov. Retrieved October 28, 2010, from http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_where_money
A 1 kilowatt solar panel system will generate around 1,600 kilowatt hours per year in a sunny climate and requires about 100 square feet of installation area. A typical single family home consumes approximately 12,000 kilowatt hours per year. Examples of energy use by household appliances include:
Source: "Fast Solar Energy Facts," (2010). SolarBuzz.com. Retrieved October 28, 2010, from http://www.solarbuzz.com/Consumer/FastFacts.htm
- A 12 cubic feet refrigerator uses about 800 kilowatt hours per year.
- A clothes dryer (4 hours per week) uses about 1000 kilowatt hours per year.
- A color television (6 hours a day) uses 600 kilowatt hours a year.
A 1 kilowatt solar PV system could reduce a family's energy bill by close to 15 percent.
The graphic below shows the average roof area for different types of buildings in Clearwater, with the existing total usable area potentially available for solar panel installations.