The west coast heat wave is wreaking havoc on the lives of its inhabitants. California in particular is struggling. The state’s power grid cannot carry the load for the need of electricity. This is a result of the change in climate that we are currently experiencing.
Have you ever been in 100 plus degree weather and lost power? It isn’t fun. Most electric companies will schedule the outage for a short period during the middle of the night. You may wake up hot and uncomfortable. Typically, before you dehydrate or have a heat stroke, the power will come back on. The lucky ones may sleep through it. But whatever the situation, losing power can be a scary thing, particularly in triple digits.
California is a state that doesn’t have air conditioning as a standard. Known for its moderate temperatures, triple digits in the summer is a bit of an anomaly. Air conditioning can be considered a luxury. But over the last several decades, those moderate temperatures have become excessively hotter. Consequently, fires, hurricanes, and other detrimental weather is having a negative impact on the lives of California natives who remember an easier time.
Breaking down the record-breaking heat
You may have already heard that all-time records of heat were broken in various cities across California last week. Orange County was hit particularly hard. Both Burbank and Long Beach set daily records. Burbank had 110 degrees last Sunday while Long Beach Airport marked a high of 109 degrees. Even San Francisco, known for its cooler temperatures, was just a few degrees shy of breaking 100.
Heat waves are not just a west coast issue. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), heat waves are occurring more often and with more intensity than they used to in major U.S. cities. The frequency “has increased steadily, from an average of two per year during the 1960s to six per year during the 2010s and 2020s.”
The average duration of heat waves in the United States is currently about four days. This is one day longer than the average heat wave in the sixties. California’s current heat wave is expected to drag on for more than a week.
California’s Electric grid
California narrowly managed to avert rolling blackouts Tuesday as electricity use climbed high and excessive heat strained the state’s power supply. The California Independent System Operator (ISO) oversees California’s electrical grid. The ISO warned there could be “rotating power outages” Tuesday evening as energy supplies appeared to be insufficient to “cover demand and reserves.” California hit an all-time record for the state of 52,061 megawatts.
Consequently, residents were urged to keep their thermostats at 78 or higher and to refrain from charging their electric vehicles. Fortunately, Californians heard the warnings issued and helped to conserve power. As a result, there were no rotating power outages required.
Even though those planned rotating blackouts didn’t happen, tens of thousands of people found themselves without power in Northern California. This included both the Silicon Valley and southern inland areas of the San Francisco Bay area. Most of the outages were heat-related. As of Wednesday morning, about 20,000 people were without power.
These scenarios are becoming all too common. And not just in the southwest. As California struggles to increase its grid capabilities, residents are left wondering what their options are. We know that summer temperatures are increasing, and cooler temperatures are decreasing across the country. The question is, “what can we do while government entities implement their next steps?
Solutions for heat waves
We need relief from the sun when we need it. And the good news is that there are options to help maintain temperatures within commercial buildings, as well as homes. Knowing that we may not always be able to depend on electricity to cool us down is intimidating. Solar panels are a solid choice but can be expensive to implement.
Protecting your property from extreme temperatures may be easier than you think. Implementing solar window films ensures that the interior temperatures of that structure are more controlled. One option that is more cost-effective and yields immediate results is solar window film. This application affords a property owner a reduction in heat gain, damaging sun rays, as well as smaller power bills.
The General Services Administration recently accepted 3M™ Solar Window Film into the Green Proving Ground Program. This organization tests energy-efficient innovations to ensure compliance and quality. Consequently, any of their approved products can be trusted for their energy efficiency ratings.
Moreover, the new Inflation Reduction Act will provide tax incentives for individuals who choose to implement this “emerging technology”. As a result, a property owner’s return on investment could feasibly be immediate upon filing their tax returns.
At NGS, we are well-versed in installing the right solar film for any commercial building or campus. We utilize government-approved software that analyzes your building(s) and allows us to recommend the best possible window glass films for your structure. If you would like to schedule an energy building model analysis you can find more details here.