A Suburban Experiment Aims for Free Energy 

The New York Times 

June 3rd 2016 


Happy Sunday BEST Community, 

This week in the BioEnergy and Sustainability School we are looking at the topic of “green” houses. I would like resurface Gillian's post on sustainable practices being incorporated into homes.The state of California has recently declared a new goal; to have all new homes be net-zero or the equivalent by 2020. In Fontana, California, there is a suburban neighborhood which is testing a potential energy system to make this goal a reality. 

This system is comprised of a combination of rooftop solar panels, smart thermostats, advanced water heaters and other high-efficiency features are being used. This technology is not novel; we already know net-zero is possible. The interesting questions this project is trying to answer is "will it work on a large scale? Can we get everyone to be net-zero?".


Thus far, the outlook for this proposition is promising. Mainly because the houses are designed so that consumers do not have to change their behavior in order to save energy since most houses are sprayed with a thermal insulator already. They also have dual-pane windows that help retain or keep out heat and LED lighting and advanced water heaters that work by funneling heat from the ambient air into the water. 

Mario Tercero 

Undergraduate Intern
2016 Bio Energy and Sustainability School
Soil and Water Science Department 

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