Posts Tagged ‘Nissan Leaf’

Coming down the road–Nissan Leaf to Power Homes?

August 15, 2011

A few weeks ago, I showed an example of the Nissan Leaf charging stations that our sister company, Linc Lighting & Electrical, is installing in California.  That’s cool.  And it’s even more exciting when we’re able to look at the whole house while we’re there, and boost the energy-efficiency to help offset the car’s electricity us.  [And the Energy Upgrade California incentives are a financial boost!] 

Looking down the street and around the corner, there may be even more interesting possibilities integrating Home/Car/Electricity.  For example, Nissan has unveiled and is testing a new system allowing the car to supply electricity to the house.  This has applications from off-peak (and lower rate) power storage to emergency back-up power.  We’ll have to wait and see how this pans out.  Roll this in with smart meters, renewable generation, and community-scale projects, and things get even more interesting.  And that is what is keeping the elves in our Energy Hub workshop busy!

Meanwhile, one thing we know for certain, focusing on efficiency first makes sense!  And at home you get to do this by making your home more comfortable, durable, and healthier.

Thanks,
Mike

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

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

Electrics cars mean we need energy savings at home

August 7, 2009

There’s growing buzz about electric cars as a way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and address climate change.  It really is one of the ways we can address energy use in our transportation system (there are many others, including public transit).

GM's Volt and the Nissan Leaf--from the GM website

GM's Volt and the Nissan Leaf--from the GM website

But if we’re going to start powering our cars with electricity, we need to think about where that electricity is coming from.  Even with new power plants coming online, most regions of the country are looking at capacity shortfalls (brownouts and blackouts, anyone?).  We won’t be able to generate our way out of this.  And some of the lowest hanging fruit here is energy-efficiency, including electrical efficiency, in homes.   Just another reason that moving forward, we won’t have any choice but to become more efficient.

Thanks,
Mike


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