This is one of my all-time favorite startup spotlights. Traditional new home construction is costly and time-intensive. The interesting thing is when you look into the actual and carried costs of new home construction, the majority of the cost is inflated due to grid infrastructure work. Pulling in power, sewage, and water lines and then dropping in hookups for each home in a development. What if we could bypass all of it? What if we could drop all the utilities a home needs to generate electricity and clean water without the major infrastructure overhead of tapping into the grid? I present to you, SunHomes.
We recently got to know Alan Knudson, the Founder of SunHomes, and it has been an absolute pleasure to learn about how his “Grid Edge” home utility system. So how does it all work?
Alan and his team went to the drawing board and realized that micro-utilities are around. Solar, well water treatment, geothermal, and battery technologies have all made amazing advances over the last few decades. So what if you took all those systems and built them to work together to handle all of the power and water needs of a single-family home on a home-by-home basis?
SunHomes has built just this system and is empowering developers to build homes on the “edge” of the grid. Not to mention the fact that these homes are now completely energy-independent and renewable. This system has several huge advantages for developers, skipping the infrastructure works speeds up development and allows developers to quickly move on a plot when it is sold in a development, install the SunHome systems, build the structure, complete the install and hookup and boom, you have a move-in ready home in 1/3 the time of traditional development. Through an elegant combination of all of these systems, SunHomes offers two major advantages for homeowners. One, the systems work together to ensure you always have heat, AC, and electricity. Think, if during a really sunny day the solar batteries power a heating system and then stored excess heat in the geothermal system. Then that night, instead of having to drain the batteries, forcing them to be fully recharged the next day which accelerates degradation, just pull heat out of the geothermal through the night to warm your home. The second benefit of this? By placing less strain on any one part of the home's systems, it prolongs the lifetime of each component from the industry standard 10–15 years to closer to 30.
Alan and his team are working on making all of the components easily replaceable from a battery to a solar panel to a power inverter. Each component will easily be able to be swapped out by a SunHomes technician too so over time homeowners can upgrade and maintain their systems with ease.
If you’re a fan of Tesla, then SunHomes will be right up your alley, powering the future of energy independent, energy resilient homes. Oh, and by the way, there is $90B spent on new single-family home construction in the US each year so there is plenty of market opportunity for an innovative new player, especially one that offers value to both home buyers and developers.