The intent of the Energy Petal is to signal a new age of planning, wherein a proposed Community relies solely on renewable forms of energy and operates year-round in a pollution-free manner. In addition, it aims to prioritize reductions and optimization before technological solutions are applied to eliminate wasteful spending—of energy, resources, and dollars. The majority of energy generated today is from highly unsustainable sources, including coal, gas, oil and nuclear power. Large-scale hydro, while inherently cleaner, results in widespread damage to ecosystems. Burning wood, trash or pellets releases particulates and carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere and often strains local supplies of sustainably harvested biomass. The effects of these energy sources on regional and planetary health are becoming increasingly evident through climate change, the most worrisome major global trend attributed to human activity.
Ideal Conditions and Current Limitations
The Living Community Challenge envisions a safe, reliable and decentralized power grid, founded on renewable energy that supplies incredibly efficient buildings and infrastructure without the crutch of combustion. Living Communities will incorporate energy systems capable of supporting and sustaining entire districts, which will infuse strength and resiliency into the proposed Community.
Although there has been considerable progress made to advance renewable energy technologies, there is still a need for a greater yield from these systems and for new ways to store the energy they generate. These, together with the current cost of the systems available, are the major limitations to reaching our goals.
105% of the Community’s energy needs must be supplied by Community-generated renewable energy on a net annual basis, including all energy for water and waste conveyance.
Use of combustion-based energy supply is not allowed. A Community must provide local energy storage for resiliency.