A MORE RESILIENT BOULDER HOUSING PARTNERS
Ever wonder what would happen in the event of a power outage? Boulder Housing Partners (BHP) doesn’t have to. After Boulder experienced a disastrous flood in 2013, the city began taking on resilience projects and became one of the first 100 Resilient Cities. Projects like these strengthen the city’s response to disturbances and changes while also prolonging social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
This system, which was the first resilience project in Boulder, provides backup power to critical loads at BHP’s headquarters. Included in the backup plan is the provision of a safe power command post for emergency services, such as fire and police. The power system consists of a 45-kilowatt-hour battery bank; an 18-kilowatt, three-phase power inverter; and a 6-kilowatt natural gas DC generator integrated with a 20-kilowatt solar array mounted on the roof.
When grid power is available, the solar array produces clean power in parallel with the grid, feeding power to the building and reducing BHP’s electric bill. During a grid outage, the system instantly takes over, powering circuits that were carefully selected and wired to a critical load panel. We also provided two EV chargers connected to the critical load panel in order to ensure ‘fuel’ for transportation if gas stations become inoperable, which is exactly what can happen in the event of long-term grid outages.
As was the case in Puerto Rico in 2017 in the aftermath of two extreme hurricanes, a power outage could mean more than simply losing your lights. Homes lose safe access to food and drinking water, as well as heating and cooling, and lives can senselessly be lost. Businesses lose profit and security, with losses compounding exponentially the longer the outage lasts.
Beyond weather, accidents and intentional attacks are becoming more and more frequent. In a study by Centrica Business Solutions, of 300 businesses surveyed across the US last year with every state represented, 92% have experienced energy failures over the past 12 months. These threats emphasize the need for investment in resilience and preparedness, rather than relief and repair. This project highlights that need, even in land-locked Colorado.
"We had our first power outage on June 4th and it worked! The solar battery back-up system was up and running providing power during today's outage; It was a seamless switch over."
TIM BEAL, DIRECTOR OF SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
BOULDER HOUSING PARTNERS