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Energy ratings are moving toward becoming a part of building appraisals and real estate listings. Europe is in the lead on making energy ratings available in the market, but labeling is also prevalent in Australia and elsewhere.
A key milestone for meeting serious climate goals is for buildings to consume almost no energy by 2030. One way to do this is to cut energy use by some 40 percent now, then make further cuts gradually over time. Another approach is to go straight to Zero Energy -- meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis would equal to the amount of renewable energy produced on the site -- all at once.
We are making substantial progress on the latter goal in the United States in 2017 (and in other places as well). We now have a database of nearly 500 zero-energy buildings that are already operating in North America, up from about two-thirds that number at the beginning of the year, and up 700% since 2012. Many of them have had their zero-energy claims validated on the meter.
Because zero-energy buildings produce as much energy over the course of a year as they consume, they have essentially zero climate-warming emissions. Better yet, they tend to not cost any more than conventional buildings. While the solar panels add to the costs of a conventional building, whole-building integrated design results in efficiency measures that significantly reduce construction costs.
From an economic development standpoint, these cities would also benefit from the cost-effectiveness of ClearWorld technology. When a city is being revitalized, oftentimes those first few dollars of the budget go toward installing new streetlights to improve public safety. Existing infrastructure can be outfitted with our flexible solar panels, regardless of size or diameter. This practice will greatly reduce installation and maintenance costs.
ClearWorld’s RetroFlex light poles improve safety in public spaces with the ability to provide off-grid lighting for playgrounds and trails.
When rebuilding it is important to think about resiliency. ClearWorld’s InterGrid solution is an energy storage microgrid technology solution. InterGrid is an intelligent solar lighting system, designed to use and store solar power to provide backup power to municipalities and utility companies.
In the absence of White House-level support for either limiting climate change or for energy efficiency, other countries and institutions are taking the lead on improving the efficiency of buildings, in many cases with a greater level of involvement and ambition than we have seen in the past. This deeper commitment is important because a goal of limiting the increase in global warming to 1.5 degrees is much more demanding than the previous 2-degree goal, which in itself is more ambitious than what current policies will deliver. (NRDC has a detailed pathway to meet the 2-degree goal, and a derivative pathway to meet the more ambitious goal.)
Thus, we see in India the first two in what will be a continuing series of bulk procurements of state-of-the-art efficient lighting and efficient air conditioners. These are key to setting up the manufacturing and distribution infrastructure to provide continually improving levels of energy efficiency at scale. Such innovations could spread worldwide.
We all need to redouble our efforts at reducing energy use in buildings through efficiency (and also by adding solar energy to run them), remembering that we are not only saving the planet, but also creating sustainable job growth and more equitable prosperity. There are good models available for how to do this. Readers should encourage their local and state governments and volunteer organizations to participate.
ClearWorld's flexibly wrapped Solar LED street lights not only add value for lighting roadways but provide a resiliency measure when the grid goes down. One of the best smart city technologies offered by ClearWorld is the ability to provide 80 hours or more of backup power to city infrastructure during power outages which greatly enhances city resiliency. Our team is happy to educate you on the Solar LED process, the installation, and what to expect from our products. ClearWorld, with the use of its RETROFLEX® and other related game-changing alternative energy technologies and solutions, proves time and again vast benefits for the environment, economy, and society.