The intent of the Energy Petal is to signal a new age of planning, wherein a proposed
Community relies solely on renewable forms of energy and operates year-round in
a pollution-free manner. In addition, it aims to prioritize reductions and optimization
before technological solutions are applied to eliminate wasteful spending—of energy,
resources, and dollars. The majority of energy generated today is from highly
unsustainable sources, including coal, gas, oil and nuclear power. Large-scale hydro,
while inherently cleaner, results in widespread damage to ecosystems. Burning
wood, trash or pellets releases particulates and carbon dioxide (CO2) into the
atmosphere and often strains local supplies of sustainably harvested biomass.
The effects of these energy sources on regional and planetary health are becoming
increasingly evident through climate change, the most worrisome major global trend
attributed to human activity.
IDEAL CONDITIONS AND CURRENT LIMITATIONS
The Living Community Challenge envisions a safe, reliable and decentralized power
grid, founded on renewable energy that supplies incredibly efficient buildings and
infrastructure without the crutch of combustion. Living Communities will incorporate
energy systems capable of supporting and sustaining entire districts, which will infuse
strength and resiliency into the proposed Community.
Although there has been considerable progress made to advance renewable energy
technologies, there is still a need for a greater yield from these systems and for new
ways to store the energy they generate. These, together with the current cost of the
systems available, are the major limitations to reaching our goals.