One of the most requested features in many new home construction projects is the inclusion of alternative energy. Wind, water, solar and other forms of generating power can be used alone or in combination to provide some or most of a home’s electricity needs.
Maui, as well as all of Hawaii, has plenty of renewable power sources, including:
- Water (ocean energy)
- Waste to energy
- Battery storage
Over time, renewable energy is an option that can save thousands in energy cost over the lifetime of ownership. These options can be incorporated into new construction or into a remodeling project.
Coal, petroleum, and other energy forms are expensive on all of the Islands because they have to be imported. Increasing alternative and renewable energy, along with updates to the electric grid to handle the increase, will help to stabilize energy prices on all of the Islands and to secure long-term energy availability.
Incorporating Alternative Energy Into Your Home For Sustainability
The term “sustainable architecture” means building with limited environmental impact. This is particularly true in Maui, where building codes require home builders and homeowners to respect the environment. Because we’re experienced in green building, we understand how to design and build accordingly.
So how would alternative energy work in a modern Maui home? Depending on your design, you could use any of the aforementioned energy types.
Solar/wind hybrid systems take the best of both types and use them to your advantage. Instead of relying on one or the other, having a hybrid system uses both to increase your output. On a cloudy day, your solar panels may not generate as much power, but the small wind turbines can pick up the slack.
The amount of energy savings you see will depend on a number of things, including the size of your home and the amount of electricity you use on a daily basis. You would also need to be able to go back onto the grid in the event that one or both systems are unable to generate power or enough of it.
If your home is near a body of moving water, it’s also possible to use micro-hydro electricity, which can generate more power than solar or wind. Flowing water turns a turbine, which generates electricity. It works as long as the water is flowing.
A geothermal system can also tap into the earth’s internal temperature for your air conditioning and heating needs. While it can save as much as 40% on an electric bill, it may not be able to provide 100% of your HVAC needs. Geothermal is also considerably more expensive at the outset and may take longer to provide a return on your investment.
Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling an existing one, all of these solutions can be incorporated into the architectural design.
100% Renewable Energy In Maui
Hawaiian Electric, the utility company that covers all of the Islands, has a goal of 100% renewable energy by the year 2045. While it’s a goal that isn’t yet reached, using alternative renewable energy is a future state that all of Hawaii is planning for.
According to this recent article in the Maui News,
As of 2018, private rooftop and utility-scale solar, biofuel and wind resources boosted the amount of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Maui County to 38 percent. We’re exceeding the state’s goal of 30 percent renewables by 2020.
Additionally, Hawaiian Electric is on the lookout for flat areas on private land such as large rooftops, and parking lots on Maui, Molokai, Hawaii and Oahu. Hawaiian Electric is looking for areas they may use for future renewable energy projects such as installations of solar panels and wind turbines, as well as income opportunities for property owners.
One unexpected side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is the sudden increase of applications for rooftop solar panels and interconnections throughout the Islands in recent months. Like many people throughout the US, those who are working from home have been putting more time into improvements, including solar and other alternative forms of energy.
You can read more about Hawaiian Electric’s Clean Energy initiative and how they are working to make 100% renewable a reality.
Call Pro Draft For All Your Architectural Design Needs
If you’re considering adding alternative energy creation to your Maui home, Pro Draft is ready to help. We can help with architecture, drawings, blueprints, permits, and to answer all of your questions before the construction begins. We will work to ensure your project is exactly the way you envision.