Posts Tagged ‘electric vehicles’

GreenHomes Parent Company installs EV Charging Station

April 2, 2013

ABM, GreenHomes America’s parent company, helped the US Navy celebrate the 1st EV Charging Station to be installed at a US NAVY site on the West Coast.

Great to see charging stations going up in all areas. Vroom!

Thanks,

Jason

Drive for Free

May 14, 2012

A few weeks back I touched on some of the hidden costs in our home (http://blog.greenhomesamerica.com/2012/04/12/fixes-for-hidden-costs-reveal-hidden-benefits/).  There is a tie between our houses and our cars and energy use.

Fixing up your home could even help you drive for free.  The Florida solar energy center created this great video:

The benefits of home performance improvements are clear and widespread.  You can be more comfortable, safer, and healthier and save money.   Money you can put elsewhere, such as towards the expense of driving with an electric vehicle.  What I think is important here is that this isn’t just for Florida.  Florida is of course a great place for solar power being the “Sunshine State”, but this isn’t really part of the formula for most homeowners.  Generating electricity can be done in many ways, and energy efficient homes are the key to being able to drive for free.

Getting a charge out of (and into) electric vehicles in California

July 26, 2011

The times they are a changin’.  And the cars they are a chargin’!

Our sister company, Linc Lighting & Electrical, has installed the first electric vehicle (EV) charging stations of their kind in downtown Laguna Beach, California, as part of City’s wider effort to implement an array of climate protection measures.   The EV charging stations were officially unveiled at a June 21 press event conducted by the Laguna Beach City Council and attended by my colleagues at The Linc Group. 

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An EV charging station in Laguna Beach--A state-of-the-art Coulomb system installed by Linc Lighting & Electrical

“We are proud to be a part of this sustainability initiative in partnership with the City of Laguna Beach,” said Ken Sapp, vice president of Linc EnergyHub. “The Linc Group is strongly committed to providing superior, sustainable services to all of our clients across all of our service areas, including IT, electrical, lighting, controls and HVAC. We also are pleased to have the opportunity to work once again with Coulomb Technologies to help deliver leading sustainability solutions.” 

LLE is also installing charging stations for Nissan Leaf purchases and supporting business locations. 

I’m particularly excited by the in-home installs.  We have the ability, with our GreenHomes Partner locations in San DiegoFresno, and Hayward to work hand-in- hand with LLE, not just with charging stations, but to look at the whole house and find ways to save energy–offseting the electrical consumption of the car!  That’s a huge deal.  And the Energy Upgrade California incentives help pay for the home improvements.  Less gas, less smog, lower utility bills, and money back!  It’s a quadruple win!

You don’t have to buy an electric vehicle to start saving in your home and taking advantage of the cash back rebates.  And the funny thing is, the improvements make sense even without the rebates.  You wind up with a more comfortable, healthier home with lower utility bills.  Good stuff!

Cheers,
Mike

Home energy vs. auto fuel costs, its a tie!

April 19, 2011

Maybe post-tax deadline some of us have had a closer look at our household budget.  Something that should be revealed for many us over the past few years is a recent shift in where our money goes.  Since 2009, Consumer expenditures for home energy (electricity, natural gas and fuel oil and other fuels) has matched expenditures on gasoline. This comes from a March report from the Consumers Federation of America titled  Public Attitudes toward Energy Efficiency and Appliance standards: Consumers see the Benifits and support the standards.

The survey from the organization that has researched consumer opinion of auto and fuel usage over the years has discovered that we have interest in improving the appliances we use in the home for the same reasons we have concerns for fuel efficiency for vehicles.  Energy Efficiency and the drain on our household budget is part of it but so is dependency on imported oil. It has been proven with cars that we will invest for the long term if the paybacks are reasonable and now the same goes for appliances in our houses.

As we have seen the price of oil swaying in the breeze of political and economic instability, the cost of heating fuels has not done the same, yet. More and more these costs are becoming intertwined.  When we try and get away from our dependence on foreign oil by moving to electric vehicles, what demands will be placed on our grid?  What an opportunity to reduce our dependence on oil by reducing our load on the home.

The survey focuses on appliances. This is a good start, but misses the importance of the interaction with the home itself.  We have written about LED lighting  and the need for better appliance standards, but the big driver in all of this is the building envelope, and for some there are greater gains in fixing the building before investing in the appliances in them. 

The survey is a call to arms for policy makers since homeowners have spoken.  Increasing efficiency requirements for appliances is a good place to start.  Let’s take it one step further make sure our houses are in order for those appliances to do their best.

GreenHomes, home energy…and electric cars

February 23, 2011

Everyone is very excited about the new electric (and kind-of electric) cars coming out – the Nissan Leaf, the GM Volt, the electric Ford Focus, the plug-in Prius, and many more are on the way.

Ford Focus Electric Car 2010What do electric vehicles have to do with homes? Two things right off the bat. First, obviously, if you’ve got an electric vehicle, you’ve got to charge it. The rapid chargers that are used to charge the EV require higher voltage and amperage than your standard breakers and outlets can provide so your home will likely require some electrical upgrades. And second, once you start charging your car, your electricity usage will go up so it will likely result in higher electric bills. There could be an unpleasant surprise in areas with higher electric rates, tiered rates or “time-of-use” metering and rates.

This could get very interesting. The impact on electricity supply will be significant in the future—and every region of the United States in facing electric generation capacity issues within the next 4-5 years, even with all the new power plants on the drawing boards. Here’s a picture a couple of years down the road when thousand of electric vehicles are on the road, many of which will be in states such as California that are struggling to keep up with electricity demand. What will happen when 25,000 electric vehicles are being charged during the middle of the summer in the afternoon during peak load? 50,000? 100,000? Ever heard of brown outs?

It raises some good questions. What will the policy be? All chargers are automatically turned off? How will folks get home if their electric cars don’t have enough battery power left? You get the picture. The emergence of charging stations along with the proliferation of air conditioners (20 years ago no one had an air conditioner within 10 miles of the coast – now they are prevalent), big screen TV’s in homes and businesses, computers in every room or office, etc. is going to continue to put a monster strain on the nation’s electricity grid.

Don’t get me wrong. Electric vehicles are part of the answer, at least in the short term, to wean ourselves off of foreign energy sources. And watching the news over the past several weeks, that certainly seems as prudent as ever. It’s just we’ve got to plan and prepare appropriately. And one of the ways we can handle this is by offsetting the electric load of new electric vehicles with efficiency savings in our country’s building—homes representing half of that energy use.

It’s good energy policy. It’s good national security. It’s good macro economics. And it’s good HOME economics. By increasing the energy efficiency of your home, you can offset the additional electrical load of the EV charging station. You’ll save immediately. And the added benefits are huge, namely increased comfort throughout your home, fixing rooms that are too hot or too cold, reducing home maintenance –all while saving your money.

You can count on a lot more discussion of electric vehicles, home energy use, and the connection between the two, right here, and on the GreenHomes America website.

Thanks,
Mike

Ford announces electric Focus for 2011 calendar year

January 8, 2011

With Ford announcing the electric Focus will hit the roads in 2011 (2012 model year), I’m looking down the street and around the corner and seeing very real implications for electricity generation and capacity.  Translation: I expect very real upward pressure on electric rates.  And improving the energy efficiency of your home with help you save money now, and save more as rates increase.  Of course, you could decide to bet that a lot of people will decide they want new coal-fired plants in their backyards and that will help keep rates from going up.  But I’m not convinced that’s either the wise or the likely path.

I think electric vehicles are going to be a big part of our future and help move us toward greater energy independence and energy security.  Along with that I believe improving the energy-efficiency of our buildings, including our homes, is going to play a critical role.   And it makes sense to start preparing today.  What do you think?

Thanks,
Mike


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