Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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From Being Off the Grid to the Microgrid

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There is more to the name change, so what is a Microgrid?

I am reading various periodicals on developments in residential building. Often I do not see much that I have not seen before, but a headline in one newspaper caught my attention. The reason that I do not see much is that most innovation in residential building is not happening as fast as we see with computer technologies, but as computers are being added to so many devices, we are seeing some basic changes in residential design. In connection with these advances, I encountered the term “microgrid”.

If you read my posts discussing a smart grid or a mid grid, then you will already be familiar with a microgrid. I have a friend in Hawaii who talks about her life living off the grid. It is the phrase that is most commonly used; however, new homes that are being built with the idea of being self-reliant when it comes to energy production are no longer said to be off the grid. By incorporating the technology behind the smart grid which goes into the home, we will have a central computer interface which will inform us of how are equipment is performing, and how to optimize that performance. It would not be part of the larger grid network; it would be a self contained grid, hence microgrid.

I have a fantasy of not relying on the power companies for my energy needs. In the case of my friend, she lives in an open rural area with the ability to set up her solar panels. I, on the other hand, live in an urban environment with many trees shading my home and yard. Other off the grid features, like a water storage system, can only be carried out on a small scale at my home. With thoughts of how our communities are built, I am not convinced that a microgrid home is achievable for everyone. With planning, such a house is possible, and I can see if you are building your own home, that this would be far more possible than converting my old home.

If you are serious about being green, look into how a microgrid can help you in your own home. To really find information at this time, you have to find articles detailing how a home is built for the smart grid. Then speak to specialist about your power needs and how they can be met. Finally, if you are living inside a city, you will need to know city codes on this technology, and what your homeowner’s association will allow. In the mean time, over the next few years, I think we will be hearing more about microgrids.

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© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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