“An interior warmed by the sun is an amazing feature”

by SmartFlower Solar
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SmartFlower Solar had the pleasure of meeting with Tammy Crosby, CEO of a Connecticut based firm, The House Designers, at Greenbuild International Conference and Expo 2017, during which she provided further insight into her goals for attending the trade show and her first impressions of the smartflower.

Crosby describes their role as “representing the leading residential architects and designers in the country offering the most popular, construction-ready and builder approved house plans in America”. And most noteworthy, they have recently expanded their supply partner categories (one company per category) to include solar. A decision that is not surprising given the rise of corporate social responsibility which includes implementing the use of clean energy technologies whenever applicable. To educate herself on the newest product offerings in clean technology, Tammy came to Boston last month to walk the trade show floor at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo*.

SmartFlower: What was your main goal in attending Greenbuild Boston 2017?

Crosby: I make a point to go to Greenbuild to see what new products and technology might be interesting to our customers building new homes throughout the U.S. and Canada.  We sell the blueprints for people to build their own homes, but we’re also a resource that they and others use to find building products and design ideas. Whenever possible, we use our voice to suggest environmentally friendly options that are as good for our readers as they are for our world, and that means staying up-to-date with what’s available. Greenbuild is the best place to be introduced to a wide variety of products for this very important niche.

SmartFlower: How would you describe your experience walking the trade show floor?

Crosby: It’s enlightening to be able to see such innovative technology and sustainable products in one location. The energy of the floor was incredible and gives great optimism for the efforts being made to preserve and protect our environment.

SmartFlower: What were your impressions of the smartflower?

Crosby: The unique approach to capturing the sun’s energy definitely caught my eye. Rooftop panels are a great solar solution for many homeowners, and their efficiency has improved over the years, but the smartflower’s almost organic operation was brand-new to me and makes a lot of sense. I love that its design took a hint from plants to follow the sun, thereby creating a dynamic system that moves to optimize light absorption and produce more electricity each day. Seeing the actual smartflower in the booth get put through its paces was amazing.

SmartFlower: Was Greenbuild your introduction to smartflower? 

Crosby: It was. While we’re always on the lookout for innovative products, the smartflower is still very new in North America and I had yet to be introduced.

SmartFlower: What primarily interests you about smartflower?

Crosby: The aesthetic factor is a major one. Green energy solutions are often rejected by homeowners because they don’t want unattractive panels to distract from their homes. The fact that the smartflower doesn’t sit on the house itself is already a huge step up, and it can be placed almost anywhere on the property to become an unexpected but welcome part of the landscape. The physical investment is also unique in that the system can be moved with its owners, while traditional panels stick with the house. People these days move fairly often, and they want good return on investment and resale value—things that can be put jeopardy with regular rooftop photovoltaic cells.

I think experiencing the smartflower in person gave me a greater appreciation for its presence. It is fairly large—a fact that can be glossed over when zoomed out to fit it in frame and without a person nearby for perspective. And while the image of a flower seems delicate, the SmartFlower is solidly engineered and inspires confidence in its ability to withstand the elements. Elegance and intelligence are its main selling points, but I definitely appreciate its sturdiness as well.

SmartFlower: The House Designers caters to the residential market. What new trends have you noticed in house designs and what kind of role does solar or renewable energy play into those designs?

Crosby: Many of our architects and designers offer ENERGY STAR® qualified house plans, which use 20-30% less energy than average. Some are so focused on designing optimally efficient homes that they leave no detail overlooked—everything from compact footprints, to where the ductwork lies, to framing techniques that accommodate more insulation. But one of the biggest trends that can contribute to an efficient house is already heavily favored by the population at large: the open floor plan.

Homes with open floor plans have great rooms with patio doors and/or large windows, and if the house is oriented correctly and the glass is properly glazed for the climate zone, they can facilitate solar heat gain. An interior warmed by the sun is an amazing feature, but homes can’t meet our expectations on passively gained energy alone—we need lighting at the flip of a switch and electricity for our appliances and gadgets. That’s where renewable sources like active solar energy from solar cells can bridge the gap and make it possible to create net-zero energy homes that support our modern lifestyles. Electricity is electricity as far as wiring is concerned, so any home can be hooked up to a solar system to make that dream a reality!

 

*Greenbuild, the world’s largest annual, traveling trade show and conference dedicated to green building, attracts nearly 20,000 attendees each year. Architects, engineers, contractors, builders, developers, LEED and consulting firms, government officials, utility companies and educational institutions have become increasingly conscious of using clean technologies to create a more sustainable environment. An overwhelming number of decision makers attend the trade show hoping to discover new products to incorporate in their product line or upcoming projects.

Building a new home? Explore more clean and efficient products along with the smartflower that could be a purposeful addition to your home designs on the TheHouseDesigners.com: Clean, Efficient Products Seen at Greenbuild 2017