In the ever-progressing march towards energy independence, solar energy has remained one of the standout options for those looking to harness nature’s power. Especially for architects, as it seems like many new developments are finding ways to incorporate sustainable energy into their buildings. And why not—as real estate prices continue to rise in cities like San Francisco and New York it seems like a shame when all of that prime rooftop acreage isn’t being taken advantage of.
That’s how the people at Mapdwell are thinking anyway, the company that seeks to “enable communities with information in order to give sustainable practices, community awareness, energy efficiency, and smart development through the aggregate effort of individuals.” Which sounds nice, but what does it mean?
Simply put, Mapdwell has been working on creating interactive maps that allow users to gauge the solar efficiency of their own rooftop, weighing installation costs against potential energy savings. It measure the amount of sunlight a particular rooftop receives over the duration of a year, and provides an easy-to-follow color-coded guide. By clicking on individual rooftops, you can view solar installation cost, eight-year payback models, and yearly revenue, as well as which individual spots on the roof are most exposed to sunlight.
Their hope is to provide the information necessary to spur an increase in the use of solar energy across the country. Currently, the company has expanded to New York, San Francisco, three cities in Massechusetts, and a number of cities in Chile. Based on this initial research they have found that solar energy is a good investment for most building owners, and have offered estimates of untapped solar energy per city, which comes out to 1.5 GW in Boston, 2GW in Washington DC, and 3 GW in San Francisco.