Solar Energy, Tonya Topel, Zero Energy Homes

Millennial Flocking Towards Zero Energy Homes

As the millennial generation continues on the path of impacting many industries, new trends in homeownership are emerging and positively impacting developers and existing homeowners. Because the millennial generation is quickly approaching the home ownership milestone, it’s an important time for older generations to take note.

So, what is it that this new generation is looking for in their home?

Solar Energy & Net Zero

Growing up and seeing the negative effects of climate change and nonrenewable energy sources, millennials are interested in homes that provide solar energy and provide net-zero living. Purchasing a net zero home means the home is providing enough energy (through solar, wind, etc.) for the homeowner to live off. This provides a decreased cost of living and is better for the environment.

“Our research showed that millennials are interested in sustainability and green features, but that they have to be practical,” Klif Andrews, Las Vegas division President of Pardee Homesto said. This shift in homeowner purchasing decisions has promoted people such as Andrews to take notice.

As solar energy continues on the rise as the nation’s fastest growing energy source, you can expect to see the millennial generation leading the charge. This provides an opportunity for developers to create new homes with solar energy installed, as well as a benefit for the baby boomer generation to make the solar investment that will pay off when they go to sell their house.


In addition to seeking a renewable energy based home, this next generation is gravitating towards “smart homes”. Growing up in the smartphone generation, millennials see the benefit in having heating and air conditioning adjustable from their phone and doorbells with built in camera and phone notifications. New-build homes are incorporating many of these smart features. From sprinkler systems that turn on based on rain sensors in the gutters, to refrigerators that reorder items when they are running low.

Interested in learning more about the net zero home movement? Checkout how a couple living in Seattle, WA build a net zero energy home at just $125 a square foot.

Tonya Topel is passionate about protecting the environment and works for an environmentally friendly construction company. Read more of her blogs on zero energy housing or follow her on Twitter!

Originally published at

Solar Energy, Tonya Topel

Solar Energy FAQs Answered

With solar energy emerging and becoming the fastest-growing source of power, the consumer market still has questions around this new option for homeowners. To help provide clarity around the topic of solar energy, the five most frequently asked questions have been answered below.

How Do I Know If I’m An Ideal Candidate For Solar Panels?

The majority of people interested in converting to solar energy have incorrect assumptions about their house not being ideal, not having the financial means, or they simply are unaware of the the rebates and incentives offered around solar energy.

The simple answer is: you don’t know until you ask! Solar companies like Sunsource Homes provide free estimates and take in considerations around home square footage, current monthly electric bills, and other factors to provide you with a cost savings estimate.

It Seems Like Solar Energy Is Just A Fad. How Do I Know It’s A Reliable Source Of Energy?

Solar energy is here to stay and is only getting started. As solar storage technology has caught up, the length of time in seeing a return on the investment has been reduced. Throughout the world, businesses are understanding the issues and limitations with our current energy sources and large companies are making substantial investments in solar energy research and development. With billion-dollar companies like Amazon leading the charge in solar investments, consumers can be comforted others make significant risks and seeing the returns. Consumers can feel comforted in seeing large companies making significant investments and providing further validation.

Can I Really Operate My Home On Only Solar Energy?

Yes! This is typically referred to as “Net Zero”, meaning the total amount of energy created through solar panels is equal to the amount used by the homeowner. Net zero allows homeowners to experience large energy savings, while also providing benefits to the environment. In recent national news, a group of cross-party mayors across the US has made a declaration to see their cities adopt more solar energy options.

Can I Afford Solar Energy?

Solar energy is unique in the levels of adoption available. Depending on your budget, you can start mall and gradually invest in additional panel over time. The other added benefit are the current incentives and rebates offered by the government.

It’s an exciting time to make the switch to solar energy and the cost-savings benefits, combined with the environmental impact makes it a smart choice.

Tonya Topel is passionate about protecting the environment and works for an environmentally friendly construction company. Read more of her blogs on zero energy housing or follow her on Twitter!

Originally published at on April 2, 2018.

Solar Energy, Tonya Topel

Solar Energy 101

Solar energy is on the rise in the United States. According to the International Energy Agency, solar energy has become the world’s fastest-growing source of power — marking the first time that solar energy’s growth has surpassed that of all other fuels. Although solar energy is on the rise, not many know the basics of it so here is an overview of what solar energy is.

How Can It Be Used

Solar energy is generated from the light or heat of the sun, which is why many think of solar panels when they think of solar energy. The energy produced can be used for a variety of things such as generating electricity, hot water, light, etc. Solar energy can also be used to power home appliances, televisions, computers, and even heat and cool your home. The traditional way to get energy is by burning fossil fuels, which is a significant cause of global climate change and will eventually run out.

Collecting Energy

The most potent source of energy comes from the sun — so it only makes sense to use that energy to power our lives. The sun releases tiny packets of energy called photons. According to the American Energy Independence magazine, every hour, enough photons impact our planet to generate enough solar power to theoretically satisfy global energy needs for an entire year.

The process of transforming light from the sun into energy is called solar photovoltaics (PV). Many of us have used a solar-powered calculator, which uses the same process as you would to have a solar-powered house. Furthermore, solar panels on homes and businesses convert the sun’s rays into energy and electricity by collecting electrons from the sun’s photons. Solar panels are made of multiple solar cells that have both a negative and positive layer creating an electric field. The sun’s photons give off electrons that excite a solar panel’s electric field, producing electricity.

Cost Benefits

Investing in solar energy is just that — an investment. The money you spend investing in solar panels will pay off in the long run due to energy savings. Additionally, depending on your location, federal, state, and local incentives combined can reduce the cost by as much as 50 percent. Typically those who invest in solar energy will receive a 30 percent tax credit.

Solar energy allows you to use the most powerful source of energy, the sun, to power your home or business. Solar energy only accounts for a small share of the United States total electricity generation but is on the rise. Protect the environment and consider investing in solar energy!

Tonya Topel is passionate about creating a healthier and cleaner environment, which led her to work for a renewable energy company. Read more of her solar energy blogs or check out her Twitter!

Originally published at on March 12, 2018.