WHAT IS SOLARA?
Solara is an exciting, ground-breaking, state-of-the-art, eco-friendly, “net-zero” luxury apartment community located at 291 North Thompson St. in Rotterdam NY. Solara utilizes the latest in renewable and energy-efficiency technologies to meet or exceed all of the energy needs of the community. Solara is one of the most technologically advanced apartment communities ever built. When complete, Solara will consist of 248 luxury apartment homes and an amenity-rich clubhouse and will be the largest net zero apartment community in the United States.
For too long and to this day, construction of homes and apartments has been done in a very careless manner, with no regard to energy efficiency or our environment. Our first eco-friendly project, netZero Village, proved that it is possible to build a net zero apartment community that is affordable while not sacrificing luxury or comfort. Our mission with Solara is to take "net zero" living to the next level, improving on what was done at netZero Village in both energy efficiency, comfort and convenience through technology. Solara is what apartment living should be on many levels. We are hoping this project is an inspiration for other developers to embrace energy efficient developments.
Why? – Energy, Homes and the Planet
Operation of homes and buildings is a very significant part of our overall carbon footprint on the planet. It is estimated that almost 50% of all energy consumption of the US is consumed by buildings.* According to most scientists, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are the main human contributors to climate change – one of the defining issues of our time. Buildings generate carbon dioxide in a number of ways. This includes the burning of fossil fuel for space heating, for creating hot water and to make electricity needed to keep the lights lit and to run appliances in our homes. The burning of these fuels isn’t the only impact on the environment. Oil and natural gas drilling (in some areas fracking), coal mining and the transportation of energy to the point of use can have significant environmental impacts as well. In addition to the environmental impacts of fossil fuels, there are security concerns with imported fuels. Continuing regional conflicts in the areas that these fuels are extracted lead to volatile pricing and economic insecurity. Reducing dependence on imported energy is a sure way to increase our energy and economic security over the long-term. Just imagine the positive impact if housing could be built that was so efficient, that all of its energy needs could be met by the renewable power of the sun. Solara makes that possible as well as helping to preserve the environment for future generations.
* According to the US Energy Information Administration
What does "net zero" mean?
A “net zero” community is one that, on an annual basis, produces as much or more energy than it consumes. In the case of Solara all of this energy is produced from the free power of the sun. Net zero is a balance of very high efficient loads of the building (i.e., efficient building design, HVAC and appliances) combined with on-site renewable production. In the case of Solara production is by means of solar energy.
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How is "net zero" achieved?
The “net zero” goal is achieved through highly engineered buildings using the latest in proven, energy-efficiency technologies combined with harvesting the free and renewable power of the sun. Energy from the sun is harnessed in three ways: 1) by photovoltaic solar panels that convert the sun’s energy directly into electricity, 2) by solar thermal panels that use the sun’s energy to heat water for the domestic hot water system and 3) by the passive solar design of the buildings where the suns rays heat the interior of the apartments during the winter months.