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Smart Plus Solar Equals Total Control

Posted by Juliet Grable

Jan 17, 2017 3:41:13 PM

The Arc House demonstrates ways to integrate renewable energy with connected technology.

SMART HOME TECHNOLOGY and solar technology provide complementary benefits: reduced energy use, improved efficiency, and greater comfort and control by homeowners. The Arc House demonstrates how these technologies can fully integrate to create an intelligent, efficient home—one that automatically adjusts to optimize energy use and comfort, and provides feedback to occupants that encourages them to change their behavior. 

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Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Posted by Ron Jones

Jan 12, 2017 10:03:54 AM

Some years ago, a good friend of mine went to the trouble and expense of finding an out-of-print copy of collected works by the great American poet Wendell Berry. He then made it into a gift to me.

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The Golden Hoof Farm: The Off-Grid Tropical Greenhouse

Posted by Lindsey Schiller, Guest Columnist

Nov 17, 2016 5:09:01 PM

A Case Study - of a 3000 Sq Ft Year-Round Solar Greenhouse in Boulder, Colorado

Step into the solar greenhouse at The Golden Hoof Farm outside Boulder, Colorado, and you’re greeted not by a monoculture of greens, but by a forest of fruit trees — guava, avocado, mango, banana, lemon, dragon fruit and cinnamon, to name a few. Taller trees create a canopy above, while shorter shade-tolerant varieties form the understory, mimicking the layers of a tropical forest. The floor of the greenhouse is covered with more conventional crops, like kale, chard, mustard greens and tomatoes. In between the vegetables, a green blanket of nitrogen-fixing clover borders pathways and fills in any excess spaces. On a spring day, you step from the dry Colorado landscape, surrounded by corn fields, into this lush humid forest, and it’s clear that this is anything but your ordinary commercial greenhouse.

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Tesla: Solving the Energy Conundrum

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Nov 3, 2016 8:28:06 AM

Last Friday, Tesla announced the next step in its plan for achieving an integrated energy future with the unveiling of its latest innovative technology: solar roof tiles.

The national news media has been awash with reports of Tesla’s breaking announcement last Friday, unveiling the next step in the company’s goal of achieving an integrated energy future.  

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Arc House and The Changing Consumer Zeitgeist

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Oct 14, 2016 11:22:05 AM

While the warm reception of the Arc House—a net-zero, smart + solar, resilient, healthy, tiny home—at this year’s Greenbuild conference in Los Angeles was hardly a surprise, it certainly reaffirmed that homebuyer’s tastes, preferences, purchasing patterns, and priorities are changing.

We have now taken the Arc House, a 432 square foot example of next generation sustainable living designed by specialty builder Shelter Dynamics, to three conferences: PCBC, Solar Power International, and Greenbuild.  On our west coast tour, thousands of people had the opportunity to experience this hand-crafted, small footprint home. 

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Can Tiny Homes Enhance your Love Life?

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Sep 29, 2016 2:09:11 PM

Tiny homes are all the rage with millennials, who want to live “stuff free” in compact living spaces, and as well as baby boomers, who yearn to shed the yoke of energy bills, cleaning fees, and maintenance costs from their oversized McMansions.  And now the secret is out—not only can small footprint living decrease your bills and headaches, they can improve your love life!

The sunshine appropriately ushering bride Pam down the aisle.

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The Anatomy of Zero Energy in the Arc House

Posted by Juliet Grable

Sep 27, 2016 8:45:36 PM

Net-Zero Energy Features

  • Super-Insulated Shell
  • Advanced Windows
  • Efficient HVAC and Appliances
  • Integrated Solar with Battery Storage
  • Passive Solar Design
  • Energy Use Feedback
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Minnesota Solar Non-Profit Rreal Hosts Local Gala to Raise Money for Low-Income Solar Installations

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Sep 14, 2016 9:54:56 AM

The Rural Renewable Energy Alliance is doing good work, combining a positive mission with renewable energy and now, beer. What's not to like?

I visited with Jay Edens, director of Rreal on a trip to the midwest last month. Edens has created an unlikely oasis of solar hope (i know that sounds cliche', but it's simply true) in the middle of rural Minnesota. Pine River. Population 900 plus or minus. The organization runs several different types of projects, from solar furnaces (wall-mounted passive solar heat) for low-income families on energy assistance (LIHEAP) to PV installations for community centers to educational outreach.

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The End of Fossil Fuel Use Will Involve a Complex Mix of Renewables

Posted by Dan Chiras, Guest Columnist

Sep 2, 2016 1:11:23 PM

Although many would like to see a 100 percent solar transition, a less "painful" path will likely involve biomass, wind and other renewable technologies for many years to come.

ALTHOUGH SOLAR ELECTRICITY and wind energy are growing by leaps and bounds, they only provide a tiny fraction of today’s electrical demand. As global supplies of fossil fuel resources decline and as concern over global climate change increases, however, solar electric systems could become a major source of electricity, along with wind and a host of other renewable energy technologies. But is there enough solar energy to produce enough electricity to meet our needs?

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The Arc House Goes to Vegas: Millennials Rejoice!

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Sep 1, 2016 8:41:47 AM

On display at this year's Solar Power International in Vegas, the Arc House is a Millennial's dream, not the lumbering McMansion of yesteryear.

I’m not a millennial, but I find myself intrigued by many of the things that seem to drive the interest and attention of that generation—smart technologies, clean energy, the circular economy, and tiny living. 

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The Arc House: The Case for Compact, Alternative Housing

Posted by Juliet Grable

Aug 10, 2016 5:44:57 PM

New concepts such as the 400-sq.-ft. Arc House demonstrate a viable option for moving renters into starter homes.

Today, more than ever, we need housing solutions that respond to changing demographics and economic realities, while at the same time reducing the environmental footprint of the housing industry. With The Arc House, Shelter Dynamics and Green Builder® Media are demonstrating the possibilities of future housing and steering the market on a more sustainable course.

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Smart, Solar, and Tiny

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Jul 14, 2016 1:11:39 PM

Our latest Vision House demonstration project, The Arc House, proves that tiny living is more than a passing trend.

Photos: courtesy of Juliet Grable and Jessica Heron

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Tesla’s Takeover: Creating the First Integrated Energy Company

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Jul 7, 2016 11:07:40 AM

Is Tesla's recently submitted offer to purchase SolarCity, valued at $2.8 billion, a grand plan to create an integrated energy company, or a last-ditch attempt to save an empire deeply in debt?

Two weeks ago, virtuoso entrepreneur Elon Musk surprised the business world yet again with Tesla’s bid to purchase SolarCity.  Since Tesla is the world’s most successful electric vehicle company and SolarCity is the nation’s largest residential solar company, it should come as no surprise that the projected market cap for the combined company exceeds $1 trillion. 

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