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Solar energy roof shingles by Team Selficiency

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Solar roof shingles are available, but they are not being adopted fast enough to produce substantial reductions in fossil fuel use.



Use of solar shingles would 1) reduce use of fossil fuels for shingle manufacturing, and 2) provide energy self-sufficiency for the average home. The best way for such shingles to be more widely adopted, however, is to increase awareness of their benefits and availability to both homeowners and manufacturers, and to make them more cost-effective than traditional asphalt shingles. Currently, solar shingles are recommended for installation only by technicians of the companies that manufacture them, which does not make them universally attractive to roofing companies. Note that as represented onhttp://www.dowpowerhouse.comsolar shingles are not currently offered as a COMPLETE roof covering. This proposal envisions the complete abandonment of asphalt shingles for roofing in favor of a solar-producing roof covering. Hence the need for engineering input. They also need to be easily replaced if damaged (current units available are not readily fixed should an individual "shingle" be damaged). ALL homes eventually  need replacement shingles, but solar shingles need to be manufactured so even existing homes could be retrofitted relatively easily. Key factors that currently are not present include making the solar shingles flexible enough so they could be applied easily to a roof that curves, has dormers, or that is an unusual shape. Individual shingle tiles also need to be able to be expanded/exchanged so that different size roof structures could be refitted or repaired without inputting a whole new panel.

Category of the action

Building efficiency, Social Action

What actions do you propose?

Development of a training program for installation from a large, preferably nation-wide construction company (or perhaps an industry organization) partnered with a solar panel manufacturer.

Financial incentives offered to construction companies for participating in training of roofers to install solar shingles.

R&D funds offered to manufacturers to engineer the missing characteristics into available solar panel shingle technologies.

Beyond that, I'm out of my league.

Who will take these actions?

This action could be taken on a number of fronts:

- by private industry seeking to broaden the market for existing products (Dow)

- by engineering research facilities/academic facilities seeking to improve existing technology to broaden its application

- by environmental NGOs seeking to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency in existing homes, either on a national or state level (e.g., Efficiency Maine in the state of Maine, or The Environmental Defense Fund nationwide).

- by state, local, or federal agencies mandated to support housing and/or resource conservation, e.g., the EPA (federal/state), HUD, local housing authorities.

Where will these actions be taken?

Throughout US, preferably in suburban and urban households. Ideally, would start in southern states.

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

- Emissions from asphalt manufacture will be reduced as a result of lessened demand for asphalt from shingle makers.

- Increased use of solar power for home use reduces reliance on electricity generated by coal, gas, or oil-burning utilities, which further reduces emissions.

- Use of a single product to accomplish both reductions = highly efficient method.

What are other key benefits?

- Captures energy that is currently widely available (solar)

- Makes use of space currently nonproductive (rooftops)

- Can be undertaken as part of a type of routine maintenance for homes that must be undertaken periodically by all homeowners (reshingling roofs)

- Offers incentives for workers to learn new, marketable skills

What are the proposal’s costs?

No idea. Needs input from HR specialists, legislators, engineers and manufacturers.

Time line

Ideally, such a program could be instituted within the next 5 years so that houses could start being retrofitted with solar panels between 2015-2020.

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