Potential of building-scale alternative energy to alleviate risk from the future price of energy
The energy used for building operations, the associated greenhouse gas emissions, and the uncertainties in future price of natural gas and electricity can be a cause of concern for building owners and policy makers. In this work we explore the potential of building-scale alternative energy technologies to reduce demand and emissions while also shielding building owners from the risks associated with fluctuations in the price of natural gas and grid electricity. We analyze the monetary costs and benefits over the life cycle of five technologies (photovoltaic and wind electricity generation, solar air and water heating, and ground source heat pumps) over three audience or building types (homeowners, small businesses, large commercial and institutional entities). The analysis includes a Monte Carlo analysis to measure risk that can be compared to other investment opportunities. The results indicate that under government incentives and climate of Toronto, Canada, the returns are relatively high for small degrees of risks for a number of technologies. Ground source heat pumps prove to be exceptionally good investments in terms of their energy savings, emission, reductions, and economics, while the bigger buildings tend also to be better economic choices for the use of these technologies.
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