Solar at the Social Scale: Maintaining Community When Energy Production and Consumption is Decentralized
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The degradation of our environment as a consequence of human pollution has created a need for cleaner alternative energy sources. Where large scale companies and infrastructures fail to meet demands for renewables, there is a growing interest in individual scale solutions such as residential solar energy. As growth of these scenarios continues, the increasingly decentralized consumption of energy poses a challenge to the social connections and interdependencies of people in communities. Passive House consultant Bronwyn Barry, and many others, offer the critique that solar largely favors homes that are more remote and have more space to devote to solar technologies. Considering this, one possible solar future is a more sprawled out and disconnected community. What is the future of previously tight knit communities when our interdependencies have changed due to the decentralization of energy? This research serves to ultimately inform design solutions involving the hybridization of communal and private spaces in order to create more efficient and connected micro-communities.