The energy positive house
We already know that the energy transition family includes energy positive regions (Territoires à Énergie POSitive or TEPOS) that aim to combine energy efficiency with energy from renewable sources, at the same time as promoting regional solidarity and self-sufficiency. Now though, there are also energy positive houses that consume less energy than they generate. For consumers, they offer an excellent way of investing in a more sustainable energy model.
Heating, hot water, cooking, electrical appliances and lighting… there are many different ways of consuming energy at home. Conversely, the methods available for generating your own energy are far fewer. As things stand today, the most frequently used self-generation models are photovoltaic solar, and to a lesser degree domestic wind power, both of which are often used to top up mains power supplies. However, the energy positive home provides a successful response to a significant challenge: consuming less energy every year than it generates!
The fact that this technological challenge can be feasibly achieved is down to three factors:
- Lower self-generation costs. The cost of decentralized photovoltaic solar power generation has halved in the last three years, and will fall further, making this a profitable source of energy for consumers. Combined with the use of heat pumps, photovoltaic solar energy offers a sustainable and affordable source of energy for private homes.
- Innovation-driven reductions in storage costs. The widespread introduction of electric vehicles has resulted in a constant stream of manufacturer innovations to create lighter, more efficient and cheaper batteries. Today, these batteries are used in energy positive homes to store energy generated during daylight hours. It’s a concept that could be developed further on the scale of an entire apartment building or neighborhood.
- The development of smart grids. Smart grids are the most efficient computerized means of managing and optimizing power generation flows and energy storage locations, whether centralized or decentralized. Thanks to these technologies, it will soon be possible to offset a power failure at a given time in a given location by drawing on local energy generation units (biomass, wind power, micro co-generation, etc.) and previously stored energy.