The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released a pilot version of a no-cost, no-touch software system for cities and counties across the country to streamline rooftop solar permits in late 2020
Besides gaining efficiency, local governments can count on SolarAPP to increase permitting fee revenue, enhance local resilience, establish safe solar-grid connections, and accelerate job growth in solar energy
SolarAPP is beneficial for both compliant and non-compliant solar project designs. If a system is compliant, SolarAPP will approve the design and issue a permit instantly. If a system is not compliant, SolarAPP will decline the application and clarify why the system was not code-compliant, allowing the contractor to go back and revise their application in real time
SolarAPP is compatible with local government permitting software, including Accela and OpenGov, which serve thousands of local governments across the United States
DEPLOYMENT STRATEGY NATIONALLY
NREL to start a campaign and market the app
Target marketing to areas with 150 and more days of sunshine
During the hot summer days, traditional windows allow in a lot of heat, radiation, and glare, causing the room temperature to increase. The consequent energy use for cooling increases drastically. Minimizing sunlight is not a solution, since it is believed that sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, which is a mood boosting natural chemical. It is increasingly popular for homes and offices to adopt floor to ceiling windows to maximize sunlight, but with it the HVAC energy consumption increases.
2. Technology – View’s Immersive Experience with Smart Windows
825 Third Avenue in NYC is the first building to incorporate smart windows
The smart windows increase natural light, improve human health, and reduce energy consumption by blocking heat and glare
The windows are also transparent, digital screens with touch displays that enable communications.
It uses AI to automatically adjust in response to the sun, increasing access to natural light and decreasing glare.
Building owners and developers – the installing of smart windows can potentially increase rent and attract quality tenants.
Individuals and corporations renting in the building – experience lower energy consumption and increase in work efficiency through the use of smart windows
Construction companies – installing smart windows is a much more complicated process than traditional windows
Designers and architects – they can now incorporate this into the blueprint
Maintenance crew – smart windows would require more maintenance and cleaning.
Consider the use of View’s smart windows by creating financial models to measure the overall costs and benefits
The design/architecture team must incorporate the technology in the design and collaborate with electricians to plan the wiring
Street lighting comprises 15-40% of an average city’s energy consumption1. Street lighting therefore contributes to a city’s emissions. In the UK specifically, 60% of the CO2 emissions from the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) lighting assets are from street lights2. As such, technology that improves the sustainability of street lighting could be impactful in improving energy consumption, efficiency, and its associated emissions.
Urban Control, a smart cities technology company, is partnering with DW Windsor to upgrade Surrey County Council’s street lights. The effort will replace or retrofit 89,000 street lamps. Urban Control will also roll out an upgrade to the existing central management system (CMS).
The streetlights will use energy efficient LEDs, which are expected to provide energy savings of ~60%.
The updated CMS will provide the Council with data on the county’s lighting, energy use, and maintenance.
Skanska, the Council’s street light contractor, and Urban Control are also coordinating the roll out of the new program with the decommissioning of the former CMS such that there are no gaps in coverage.
It is anticipated that this technology will save ~7.7k tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
Surrey County Council
Surrey residents and businesses
LED lighting companies
4) The First Three Steps in Deploying This Technology
Raise awareness of the changes being implemented amongst the residents and businesses
Ensure stakeholders are coordinated for the replacement and retrofitting process
Monitor the performance of the new system and the data that it collects
Sustainability Problem: Energy + Safety and Health
Air conditioners produce about 117 million metric tons of CO2 annually and make up about 6% of all electricity produced in the US. To homeowners, this accounts to a total cost of $29 billion.
Cooling is important for the safety and health of people, especially when people are working in hot conditions for a long duration. Extreme heat, especially longer exposure to extreme heat can cause heat exhaustion, heat strokes and death. More than 600 people in the US die from extreme heat each year.
Sustainability Technology: FedEx Ground’s Solar Thermal Air Conditioning System
At Fedex Ground’s sorting facility in Davenport, Florida, the solar thermal air conditioning system provides cooling for packages that are not usually insulated as well as for workers who have to load and sort packages for prolonged periods of time in the heat.
This technology provides thermal comfort for workers and also cuts down the work air conditioner compressors have to do to provide cooling.
Solar thermal panels mounted on the roof of the distribution center take the sunlight and convert it to heat which is used to heat the compressed fluid inside the air conditioners.
This solar thermal technology will reduce energy demand by 33% and reduce 11.4 metric tons of CO2 per year.
For most commercial buildings, lighting constitutes as the highest electricity user compared to other single uses. Additionally, many office buildings do not take advantage of daylighting, either because it is infeasible in some buildings or they don’t have the right design tools. Only employees sitting by the window receive natural sunlight. Studies show that daylight improves an occupant’s health and well being as well as productivity. An average person in the US spends over 90% indoors, without natural light.
Technology Solution: Solar Lighting
Parans has developed a daylight system that uses fiber-optic cables that deliver natural light captured by solar roof collectors (pictured above). The sunlight collectors are designed track the sun’s movement and therefore capture maximum sunlight. The free and renewable resource that is sunlight, would therefore also lower a building’s total energy usage from lighting.
This technology can provide natural light to the interior of the building as well as the basement – the two areas that typically lack access natural light. This light can be distributed as Point Light, Ceiling Light and/or Wall Light.
Originally a Swedish company, the technology is being integrated in many parts of the world. Lumenomics has partnered with Parans and is now the US distributor of their daylight systems.
This system is being used in healthcare facilities like NICU at Denver’s Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center, at University of Arizona’s Innovative Health Sciences Building, and even in Rijnands Tunnel in Netherlands, where lighting is crucial to avoid accidents.
Public-private partnership between Duke Energy and Charlottes Area Transit System(CATS) will pilot a program to utilize 18 battery operated bus vehicles in the city and surrounding areas. Program to begin in early 2022 and span over 12-18 months
Pilot program is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge, and FTA(Federal Transit Administration) and CATS Capital Investment Program will fund the pilot program.
Some challenges as CATS collects and assesses the data are:
high upfront cost
performance of the busses for long and frequent routes
finding/testing manufacturers that best suite city’s weather, topography and needs
Charlottes Area Transit System(CATS)
Duke Energy – subsidiary of eTransEnergy
Residents of Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas
Federal Transit Administration(FTA)
Three steps to deploy the technology (assuming funding is in place)
Work with manufacturers that are interested in participating in the program and bus selection
Identify charging needs and potential charging stations and associated infrastructure to support the stations, as buses will draw more energy than the electric cars
Identify bus routes and areas that the program will serve based on above
The electricity sector is approximately 25% of U.S. annual greenhouse gas emissions. Outdated energy infrastructure generates damaging environmental impacts with higher energy costs. Residential and commercial customers lack visibility of their energy consumption. Antiquated systems provide inaccurate meter readings that impact billing and generate operational and energy inefficiencies. As electric vehicle adoption increases alongside distributed energy generation sources, new measurement infrastructure is needed to prevent the grid from being overloaded. Utilities play a critical role in decarbonization yet face many challenges.
Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) enables utilities to gain visibility of energy usage to make more informed decisions and meet customer demand. AMI enables utilities to predict outage risk and respond faster. AMI also provides customers more control over electricity consumption with new tools and techniques. Features include:
— Near real-time smart grid predictive management of energy supply and demand. — Edge computing over 5G networks to provide scalable IoT cloud integration. — Advanced streaming analytics with AI that collects and reacts to energy data. — Energy insights surfaced on a dashboard to inform data-driven decisions. — Platform to trade electricity among customers and provide energy services.
Smart meters are electronic devices that measure energy use with data captured in 15-minute intervals. This data is securely sent to portals that can be accessed by customers and utilities. As smart meters are widely adopted, utilities can provide customers energy at the lowest cost and lowest environmental impact. ConEdison is installing 5 million smart meters over the next year.
Key constituents in the AMI and smart meter ecosystem include:
— Utilities: ConEdison in New York, PG&E in California, and Oncor in Texas are examples of utility companies that provide AMI solutions and smart meters to customers. — Technology Providers: Companies such as IBM provide AMI cloud services and Siemens develop smart meters used by utility companies. — Commercial and Complex Billing Customers: These customers gain insights on cost and usage trends. This includes tracking consumption to uncover energy efficiency opportunities. — Residential Customers: These customers track near real-time energy usage with comparison to similar homes and saving tips. — Electric Vehicle Charging Companies: Charging stations integrate AMI and smart meters to collect and share energy consumption data with utilities. — Policymakers: Federal and State politicians impact the financing of energy budgets and the rollout of programs that promote AMI and smart meters.
Once a residential, commercial, or complex billing customer decides to get a smart meter, the following steps are taken:
1. The customer contacts the utility company to request smart meter installation availability. 2. Once eligibility is confirmed, an approved vendor completes the installation on location. 3. Approximately 2 weeks after installation, customers access tools on their account dashboard. 4. Near real-time usage, comparison, and analysis data surface energy efficiency opportunities.
The transportation sector is the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter in the United States, accounting for a 28% of total US of total U.S. GHG emissions in 2018. Cars, trucks, commercial aircraft, and railroads, among other sources, all contribute to transportation end-use sector emissions.
Goverments need to find effective mechanisms to raise awareness and cut down congestion. One of the best approached to address this issue has proven to be road tolling & pricing, a system that also enables goverments to capture revenue.
Sustainability problems: Energy, Civic Engagement, Safety and Health.
How can we address the problem?
As the road usage pioneer, ClearRoad has developed a version of congestion pricing that is affordable to most cities nd has the potential to reduce emissions up to 20 percent due to reductions in vehicles and less driving overall. This innovative technology is a low-cost version of historically high-cost yet proven programs from around the world. Specifically, ClearRoad leverages data and GPS (already being generated in cars) through machine learning and synchronization protocols. The result is flexible and adaptable road management tools for governments to reduce emissions and congestion, prioritizing community.
Additionally, ClearRoad is deploying a per-mile fee for electric vehicles (EV) as an alternative to current disincentivizing policies. Due to anticipated gas tax revenue shortages, 28 states have instituted surcharges to EV owners on their annual registrations, which can inadvertently suppress EV adoption by 25 percent.
Sustainability Problem: Food production will continue to be an exigent issue tied with population growth. The development of greenhouses has been revolutionary, but they are expensive to install and operate. Soliculture provides a sustainable solution that creates clean energy and optimizes growing practices.
The LUMO technology commercialized by Soliculture and Solaria Corporation utilizes the Wavelength-Selective Photovoltaic Systems (WSPVs) to enhance light quality by converting green light to red light. The optimized light spectrum enhances power production from the solar panels and facilitates plant growth. Other features are as follows:
Reduces capital cost of installation – from solar energy incentives and grants
Offsets electricity bill with sustainable solar energy production
No harm on plants and energy production – positive effects on plant growth
Land use efficiency – co-producing crops and electricity
Energy monitoring with user-friendly online software
“This is an innovative technology that building contractors should really think about when equipping shower heads in accommodation units. The technology does not only saves water but also saves money through savings on water/utility bill. The website even has a feature to count your annual savings!”