An article in Fast Company highlights Soleil Lofts in the Salt Lake City metro area, built with solar panels on the rooftops and distributed battery storage in every apartment. Putting batteries in each unit is an aesthetic choice, to be sure, but it’s also pragmatic: sending energy between apartments is more efficient than having a centralized battery room in the complex. The appliances in each unit are all-electric, and the complex would be able to run for up to a few days without sunlight or help from the grid.
This sort of community energy in miniature is an interesting experiment in how we think about multi-family living. Residents won’t just share walls and parking lots; they’ll also share electricity. The solar system and batteries will be managed by the local utility company, who will be able to look at electricity generation and usage in real time, releasing energy from the batteries when it’s needed. And with energy-efficient building techniques, the apartments will have both supply- and demand-side management in place.
Controlling energy usage isn’t just for new buildings, though. Energy Resource Center is a non-profit construction company dedicated to efficiency and weatherization upgrades for low-income families. We make upgrades to existing housing stock where people already live, saving them an average of 25% on their monthly utility bills. By repairing or upgrading key appliances like furnaces and water heaters, as well as adding insulation, LED light bulbs, and low-flow toilets and shower heads (among other changes), we can ensure that Colorado families stay safe, warm, and comfortable in their own homes. We reach 27 counties in Colorado. See if you qualify here.