The grass may be greener in Hawaii, but now so are its houses.
Solar powered hot water heaters are now replacing electric heaters that burn fossil fuels, and in the process release harmful carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Hawaiian Electric Company is heavily encouraging all home owners to convert to eco-friendly solar water heaters by offering lucrative rebates. While this switch promotes energy efficiency in the home, it also reduces statewide electricity usage that until now relied over 80% on fossil fuels. In fact, Hawaii is hoping to invert that number by the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which aims to produce up to 70 percent of electricity from wind, solar and other types of eco-friendly resources.
Creating homes that rely on solar hot water heaters is a major step towards achieving such an impressive goal. With utility, local, and federal governments all offering rebates, more than 50,000 solar hot water heaters have been installed already. These solar heaters and the rebates that are part of the package have reduced home electricity bills, therefore offsetting the initial cost of installing them. Solar Direct, a company invested in providing green technology, installs the warm weather ProgressivTube for $1,700 – $2,600 in Hawaii. Solar Direct installs these hot water heaters according to the local climate (warm, moderate, cold) along with a variety of other technology such as lighting, pool and spa heaters, wind powered systems etc. Reasonable prices and convenient home installations are making this company one of the coolest clean energy companies around today.
Hawaii is taking drastic measures to become one of the greenestates in the U.S. The state public utilities commission is considering time-of-day pricing (TOD), under which higher rates will be charged for electricity during peak morning and evening hours compared to off-peak hours. This step will seriously promote energy consciousness and green technology such as the already popular solar hot water heaters. Hawaii’s capital Honolulu have mandated that every new publicly owned building is constructed according to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, which is estimated to cut building energy consumption by 50 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent.
With all these programs underway, the switch to solar hot water heaters is still one of the most popular and successful projects. The positive public response has led the state to announce that all new homes built 2010 onwards must use solar powered hot water heaters. This will harness Hawaii’s most natural energy source right into thousands of homes, and hopefully buildings too.
Hawaii is quickly becoming a major trendsetter in the clean energy sphere, showing that working on a localized level can have a global impact.