Building Off-Grid to Counteract Climate Change
Increasingly extreme weather from climate change is now a year-round phenomenon. This has homebuilders reconsidering how they design and power new homes, and how to take them off the grid.
Major grid failure or “blackout” events in the United States, impacting 50,000 or more people, jumped by more than 60% since 2015. We all saw what happened to Texas during their grid failure of 2019. A freak ice storm in February of 2019 took out much of the state’s power grid, plunging nearly 10 million people into a cold, dark catastrophe. More than 150 people died, and at an estimated $200 billion, it was the costliest natural disaster in the state’s history.
And it's not just Texas, the Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t officially begin until June, but excessive spring flooding has already displaced thousands of residents in Louisiana Alabama and Kentucky. California’s last wildfire season set the record for the largest amount of land burned in modern history, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The fires destroyed over 10,000 structures and cost over $10 billion in property damage.
What does all of this mean? Well it means for builders, developers, and investors, communities of the future will have to be self-sufficient (i.e. Off The Grid).
The growing effects of climate change are no longer seasonal. Increasingly extreme weather from climate change is now a year-round phenomenon. That means homebuilders must consider how they design and power new homes, and how to take them off the grid, so they can be more environmentally sustainable, as well as operational when disaster hits. Going off the grid means going well beyond just installing some solar panels.
New developments will need not just solar, but their own water filters, other sources of electricity generation, and a number of other efficient ways to manage their utilities.
Since all the events in Texas and other states, the interest in the self-powered concept has really gone off the charts.
The highest-risk homes in California, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, along the Mississippi River, and large Gulf and Atlantic coastal stretches, are moving to prepare for full grid failure.
Homeowners have become much more aware of their risk and much more inclined to do something about it. There is more interest now than ever before from consumers seeking new strategies to safeguard themselves and their families from climate events. Solar, water collection and filters, generators, power management systems, etc…. Many are taking a page from rural settings where utilities are individual responsibility. They are developing what are called "micro-grids."
The biggest hurdle to more expansion of off-the-grid housing is cost. Right now it is expensive, and especially so to retrofit homes. Most of the demand is coming from wealthier homeowners and homebuyers. The big challenge is that the payoffs of self-containment don’t pay off right away. Incremental changes at the high end can trickle down, which happens a lot with technology that is in our appliances and in our heating and cooling systems today. The more investment in off-the-grid technology, the cheaper it will become.
So are you ready to take the plunge? Contact our team of experts at www.BHIbuilds.com