Local and Renewable Energy Resources

By Chad Adams

At Bio-Logical Capital, we believe communities can become net exporters of energy—creating all the power they need and deriving economic benefit by selling off the surplus. Energy can become part of thoughtfully integrated utility system.

To accomplish this, we first seek to reduce demand by focusing on energy efficiency. When greater resources are available and the markets exist, we harness renewable opportunities––wind, sun, plants, wastes, geothermal gradients––clean energy to diversify the broader electricity grid. Whether producing energy on a roof for use in the immediate building or producing electricity at a large scale to serve a broader community, local energy sources can reduce our need for fossil fuels and create greater stability and economic returns.

New sustainable developments could reduce water consumption by 40 percent, energy use by up to 50 percent, and solid waste by 70 percent versus conventional developments.
— US Green Building Council

Our Core Energy Philosophy

Design communities to be energy efficient

For millennia, people have built their homes and communities in response to their local environments. We learn from nature and historic human adaptations to create efficient designs. Buildings can be built to attract or repel heat depending on climate. Site plans can be arranged to share and minimize energy production needs. Advanced materials and technologies can further enhance homes to live comfortably and efficiently, even in extreme conditions.

We analyze the available natural resources of the land and the technologies that exist, and design the built environment to leverage the ideal possible combinations. For example, we determine how a building can best be oriented and designed to capture sunlight and to optimize the effectiveness of solar panels on its roof. By considering energy at the very beginning stages of design, we reduce overall costs to both residents and developers.

Strive for self-sufficiency

By designing according to climate and constructing efficient buildings, we increase the opportunity for people and communities to be more self-sufficient, integrating energy efficiency and production into homes, businesses, districts, and buildings. As a result, communities are able to produce the energy they need, reducing transmission costs and inefficiency, and creating energy security.

Select appropriate technologies

Energy generation should be an integral part of a design without detracting from other natural resources, including other economic needs and opportunities, views, ecological health and wildlife habitat. Energy sources and technologies are selected according to the unique attributes of the site. We analyze and then make decisions about a technology based on its suitability to the land and community and its financial viability over the long term.

Create a system that works for people

Every project incorporates public education to help people see and understand how much energy they use, how their individual decisions have an impact, how smart design reduces energy needs, and how they and their community can generate the energy they need. This education empowers people to make a positive difference, and helps to promote further energy efficiencies and cost savings.

 

Energy can offer Multiple Benefits to People and Land

Reduce reliance on fossil fuels

By reducing overall energy use and transitioning to renewable energy infrastructure, we can lessen dependence on fossil fuels. This change will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the negative consequences of harvesting and distributing non-renewable resources. It will ultimately protect consumers from the frequently volatile prices of fossil fuels.

Create economic efficiencies

Traditional energy models with massive centralized power generation plants have high infrastructure costs and result in lost energy in transmission from the plant to the end user. A network of energy produced and used locally is inherently more resilient and adaptable to change. By considering energy production while we are designing communities, we can arrange them to be more efficient and ensure that renewable energy technologies can fit easily into the infrastructure. For example, a district-scale geothermal well loop can serve a neighborhood, significantly reducing heating and cooling needs for each individual building.

Increase community and individual stability

Efficient homes, businesses and communities need less electricity and can supply a large portion of the (reduced) energy they need. As a result, they are more stable and more reliable. For example, the residents of an efficient house, taking advantage of passive energy sources, can live comfortably even in the event of a power disruption.

Support vibrant communities

Ultimately, our approach to renewable energy will spark vibrant community development where people have a deepened awareness of the power derived from locally available resources. It creates ownership and instills stewardship of place–and does so for generations. This strategy supports high-quality jobs and a more stable economy.