DIY : The Cost of Sustainable Living – Bench.Dog

The Cost of Sustainable Living

With the advent of affordable solar technology for residential applications the idea of an electricity bill could become history. But how close to this reality have we come?

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Tesla has launched the Solar Roof and Powerwall in an attempt to make sustainable living a more realistic reality for residential and commercial applications.

The Solar Roof allows for the harnessing of solar energy which can be used to power your home in place of electricity. In conjunction with the Powerwall, a large battery installed on the home itself, these two solutions allow for a home to become potentially self-sustaining — well, at a cost.

Tesla recommends 2 Powerwalls for a home that uses 28kWh a day, which would provide 100% of the homes energy needs. This also includes 7+ days of continuous emergency power in case of a power outage. This is all contingent on how large your home is of course.

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The cost of a single power wall including the supporting hardware clocks in at just over $9,000, but this does not account for installation. On top of the hardware installation is estimated between $1,300–3,900, plus any taxes, permits, electrical upgrades or retailer charges that might apply. For the recommended 2 batteries it would be roughly $17,000 for the hardware, plus installation and surprise fees of course.

Residential solar panels have been around for some time now, you might even see some of your neighbors with them fixed on the roof of their home. Tesla’s Solar Roof expands on that idea by actually incorporating the solar panel into glass solar tiles, which essentially take the place of shingles, slate, metal roofing, etc.

The solar tiles come in multiple styles to suit almost any home, including textured, slate, smooth, and tuscan. The solar cells are invisible and blend seamlessly with each style.

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The Solar Roof is available for reservation now, simply put down a reservation of $1,330 CDN, followed by $21.85 per square foot as well as installation cost. This means that roughly 35% of the tiles on the roof would have solar technology, while the rest look exactly the same but are normal glass tiles. According to Business Insider this would roughly equate to a 3,000 square foot roof costing more than $65,000.

At this point you might be thinking that these prices are insane! Well, perhaps the up front cost of the Solar Roof and Powerwall might be up there but the energy savings over the next thirty years would also be impressive. Tesla’s logic dictates that the Solar Roof is “more affordable than conventional roofs because in most cases, it ultimately pays for itself by reducing or eliminating a home’s electricity bill,”.

From Tesla blog post

If $100,000 seems like a little too much of an investment right now, there are quite a few other ways to make your home significantly more sustainable without breaking the bank!

Cool Roofs are constructed using reflective materials that don’t absorb as much heat as traditional roofing. This is achieved by using certain types of paint, sheet coverings, or special shingles or tiles. A cool roof can reduce the height of your roof from 65C to 10C or cooler in the summer sun (in warmer climates). This can help to reduce energy bills by decreasing air conditioning needs as well as preserve the life of your roof!

Another way to avoid cranking up the AC is to ensure that your windows and doors are outfitted with proper light-coloured blinds or solar window screens. Drawing the blinds on a hot sunny day can prevent the house from getting as hot, but ruin your view. Solar window screens or films allow for you to keep your beautiful view without the heat getting in! Just one more way to let you turn down the A/C a little and save some energy.

If you are thinking about building a new home consider using advanced framing techniques which utilize optimum value engineering (OVE)! This method actually cuts costs by replacing excess lumber with insulation while still maintaining the necessary structural integrity of the home. This framing technique can save up to $1,000 of materials, 3% to 5% labour costs, as well as 5% annual cooling and heating savings!


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