Tag Archives: solar

Sustainable Urban Living in San Antonio

The Renewable Republic

The Renewable Republic

We are continually inspired by stories of our fellow San Antonians who not only think outside the box, but live outside of it as well! We recently discovered The Renewable Republic – a group of locals working to build a sustainable urban community that is working to live smarter, cleaner and more abundantly.

Their little urban farm, located off of S. St. Mary’s near Roosevelt Park, is an impressive sight to see. Besides growing traditional produce, which supports their family, tenants and some friends and neighbors (as well as the occasional CSA), they are growing vertically, have a tilapia farm and a giant water catchment tank, but that’s not all.

They keep chickens (although rather precariously-elevated above St. Mary’s), use solar energy to run everything and, in their spare time, make bio-diesel by recycling used restaurant cooking oil – the byproduct of which is used to make glycerin soap that they sell at places like Dignowity Hill Farmers Market.

For folks looking to learn from these savvy sustainable practitioners, Renewable Republic is hosting an Urban Farm Camp this summer for kids, from July 18-22 or July 25-29, and there have been talks about eventually hosting one for adults as well.

The owners are excited to help other neighborhoods build similar communities and are happy to lend their expertise. If starting your own garden seems too daunting, why not see if your neighbors would be willing to collaborate on one for the whole neighborhood? According to Renewable Republic, they have seen the simple act of growing one vegetable change lives. Reconnecting with nature through growing is just of the benefits of bringing rural life to the city.

What are you inspired to do in your community? We’re always inspired to help our clients build their dreams. Feel free to call us at 210-494-5400 for a consultation. If you wish to be added to our private email list for our newsletter, please sign up here.

The Power of Solar for your Home

solar house

We’ve explored various roofing options before in a past blog, but we wanted to go a little bit deeper into the amazing benefits of solar roofing, particularly if you live (or want to live) in San Antonio or the surrounding area. The market for alternative, renewable energy sources is growing rapidly and will likely only continue to gain momentum.

Not only is solar roofing a wonderfully green and eco-conscious option where you end up generating money instead of burning it, but locally, many electricity companies are offering consumers rebates when they make energy-saving improvements to their homes.


CPS Energy, which services San Antonio, offers a rebate on solar photovoltaic systems that convert sunlight to electricity. Currently, the power company that services Schertz is also providing solar rebates to consumers.

In fact, these company offer a wide variety of rebates on things from pool pumps to air conditioners and new construction. While these rebates aren’t indefinite, it’s worth noting that rebates on solar roofs have been consistent. CPS even offers one for solar water heaters, up to $2,000. Energy Star estimates that you can reduce your electric bill by 50% when you switch to solar water heaters. For specific information on rebates, it’s best to contact the companies directly for details.


Solar panels have been around a lot longer than solar shingles, which first came into use in 2011. Shingles are installed similarly to asphalt shingles and, in fact, replace the asphalt shingles where they are installed, which can result in modest savings.

Solar shingles can be installed on various types of roofs and most people find them much more aesthetically pleasing than the somewhat bulky appearance of panels. However, panels are considered to be a touch more efficient than shingles, but not by much. Currently, the conversion efficiency of shingles is 19.9% while panels are 20.3%.


-          The financial rewards are by far the best reason to install a solar roof. In case it wasn’t clear, not only do you save money using solar, but if the conditions are right and let’s face it they are in South Texas, you may even start receiving a check from your energy company after a while.

-          Over the long run, a homeowner might save $20,000 over a 20 year time period with a solar roof, at least that’s the national average. In Texas, it will be more like $30,000.

-          Using solar power is a reliable, secure and independent resource that cannot be controlled by a company or agency, which is why even the military is working to install solar power systems.

-          Interestingly, solar power creates jobs. As an energy source, solar power creates almost three times more jobs than money invested in coal or natural gas.

Besides the cost of initial installation, the disadvantages of having a solar roof are virtually non-existent. If this is something you’d like to consider for your new custom home, give us a call at 210-494-5400.

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