Re-inventing Construction: Proceedings of the Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction 2010

46 Although technology performance has dominated recent discussions around re- newable energy, the mass adoption of clean energy does not depend on technology alone. A hard look at the “soft” issues of clean energy shows clearly that system cost, inscription (or not) into existing building industry markets and channels of mass-distribution, familiarity to consumers, and cultural perceptions and habits will be deciding factors in the implementation of distributed energy. In the United States, efficient polycrystalline glass solar roof panels face three significant barri- ers to widespread adoption. Purchase costs are high, and more than 50 percent of total system costs are in rooftop installation, labor and inverters 1 . Once installed on the roof, it is hard for the homeowner to “use” solar energy since domestic appliances and wiring in the United States runs on 110 AC; the energy generated by the panels is DC, and the sale of clean energy grid tie sales is not mandated at the federal level. While the DC electrical energy can be inverted to AC, this adds cost, complexity and inefficiency. REDUCE CO 2 Going SOFT Design Strategies for a New Materiality of Energy Sheila Kennedy / KVA