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Green Homes in 2020

April 22, 2010

USA Today predicts that green homes will be more prevalent in 2020… what’s the wait?

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/2010-04-22-EARTHgreenfuture22_ST_N.htm

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One Block Off The Grid (1BOG) Raises $5M

February 12, 2010
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“Group” buy solar installer One Block Off the Grid (1BOG) announced that it had raised $5M for its residential solar group buying service.  Consumer savings are estimated at approximately 15% less than going it alone, and the company has already completed/coordinated 600 installations.  Read more on techcrunch.

Ready for a Group Buy for Solar?

February 2, 2010
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From the NY Times Green Inc:  It’s been more than a year now since the debut of the oddly named San Francisco startup One Block Off the Grid — a company that brings together groups of homeowners with solar aspirations and delivers them as a collective to solar installers in the area, earning volume discounts for the customers and referral fees for itself.

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According to Dave Llorens, the company’s co-founder and general manager, 1BOG, as the company is known, has helped with the solarization of hundreds of rooftops, many of them in California, but also in places like Phoenix, Denver and New Orleans. The company just introduced a program in northern New Jersey, marking its first East Coast foray, and it is also planning to enter San Antonio and Honolulu next, Mr. Llorens said.

“Over the course of 2009 we put in about 550 solar systems, which probably puts us on par with the top five installation companies” in the nation, he said. “We want 2010 to be the year where we bring solar to the masses.”

From Green Inc.

Can Obama Save Cleantech?

February 2, 2010

Excerpt from recent editorial from Vivek Wadhwa, Visiting Scholar at UC-Berkley and Research Associate at Harvard Law School:

“Consumers are key.   Consumer perceptions of energy prices have potent effects on the market.   China figured this out.  In addition to subsidizing manufacturing, it is training thirty thousand salespeople to sell new clean technologies to consumers. In the U.S. energy is just too cheap, so consumers don’t see the benefits of Cleantech. Rebates and short-term subsidies just aren’t creating long-term demand. As a result, entrepreneurs trying to build companies on energy efficiency are finding it hard to stay afloat.  The demand and growing markets are just not there.

Will America meet President Obama’s call for global leadership in the clean energy economy?  Not likely if Congress and state governments don’t make it a lot easier for startups to attract investment and a lot more attractive to manufacture here.  Governments need to coordinate comprehensive, long term energy policy – now.”

Original article from techcrunch.

Solar Hot Water Systems Fuel Steam

January 28, 2010
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From the Wall Street Journal:  As more homeowners are discovering, you don’t need a super hot climate and tens of thousands of dollars to go solar. In many cases, all it takes to offset two-thirds of your hot water bill is a couple of panels resembling skylights, an 80-gallon water storage tank and some shade-free southern rooftop exposure. Costs range from about $2,000 to $10,000, sums that can be halved thanks to hefty new federal and state incentives. Just last week, California launched a cash-rebate program that will average $1,500 for residents to install solar water heaters at home. [Originally from the Wall Street Journal].

Green if the price is right

January 22, 2010
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In general, consumers want to make their houses more environmentally friendly. Results of a recent Better Homes and Gardens survey found that 87% of consumers are planning to have high-efficiency heating and cooling in their next home; 86% are planning to have high-efficiency appliances and 24.9% will have geo-thermal heat.

And when asked how the current housing market and economic turmoil affected priorities for their next home, 76% said energy-efficient heating and cooling will be more important to them; 70% said Energy Star appliances will be more important.

Even so, when it comes to improving their current homes, it’s the “got to” improvements that win out over the “want to” improvements these days, said Eliot Nusbaum, executive editor of home design for the magazine. “The focus is now on low-cost improvements that will pack a big punch,” he said.  [via marketwatch]

California to Subsidize Solar Water Heaters

January 22, 2010

California regulators on Thursday approved a $350 million program to subsidize the installation of solar water heaters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The program will allocate $250 million for the replacement of hot water heaters fueled by natural gas and $100.8 million for those powered by electricity.  [via green inc.]