These $3 million luxury condos could change the way we make buildings

There’s no place like home, especially when home is a multi-million dollar urban condominium complex that runs entirely off the grid.

Sol-Lux Alpha is an ultra-luxe residence coming to San Francisco that generates its own power via rooftop solar panels and cuts down heating and cooling energy costs up to 90% through efficient design.

Upon completion later this year, the four-family structure will be so energy efficient, it could change the way buildings are constructed in San Francisco, if not the rest of the country.

“We feel this is a building model of the future,” John Sarter, a developer at Off the Grid Design, LLC, tells Tech Insider. “We have the power … to be participants in the [energy] system, not just consumers, but producers.”

Sol-Lux Alpha will be California’s first net-zero energy “passive house” condominium complex, which means it meets strict energy efficiency standards set by Germany’s Passive House Institute.

Rooftop solar panels generate all the energy tenants use, from powering kitchen appliances to an underground electric vehicle charging station. Any excess energy is sold to the local grid and puts money on tenants’ pockets.

An energy storage system builds up a cache of energy in case of city power outages. It’s enough to supply the average American home’s electricity consumption for five days.

The panels still leave room on the roof for a deck and outdoor kitchen, which is covered by a water-collection canopy. The system catches rainwater and uses it to shower the planters and vertical garden wall.

The building’s amenities go beyond infrastructure. Homeowners can track their energy use through an energy meter that plugs into the building’s circuit breaker. Developers hope the technology encourages them to be more mindful.

“It’s designed to make people really think about, ‘Do I need to leave this plugged in?'” Sarter says.

Each three-bedroom, two-bath unit is also outfitted with ultrasonic motion detectors that turn lights and outlets off when you leave the room.

The condos don’t come cheap. According to Sarter, each 1,760-square-foot unit will run between $2 million and $3 million. That price includes part-ownership of the solar panels.

Sol-Lux Alpha opens fall 2016, with ambitions to develop more passive buildings on the same San Francisco block in the future.

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