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Turn-key Provider of
Net Zero Energy Systems & Net Zero Energy Retrofits
for Commercial and Industrial Buildings
in the USA and Canada

For more information or quote on a
Net Zero Energy System or a Net Zero Energy Retrofit
for your Commercial or Industrial building,
call or email Self Reliance, Inc;

Revenues from "Net Zero Energy" Buildings
to Reach $1.3 Trillion by 2035!

Austin, Texas

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The "Desert Rose" development with 196 homes planned for Desert Hot Springs, California to be "Net Zero Energy" development - signs LOI to install proprietary Solar Cogeneration heat engine energy system that generate all the electric power needed with solar hot water.

The Desert Rose Community will NOT be connected to the electric grid! 

Could this be the Beginning of the End for Traditional Electric Utilities and their High Electric Rates, Brown Power and Inefficient Electric Grid?

What is "Net Zero Energy?"

Net Zero Energy - when applied to a home or commercial building, simply means that they generate as much power and energy as they consume, when measured on an annual basis.

The U.S. Army now has a Net Zero Energy initiative to help reduce/eliminate America's use of foreign oil  - particularly oil from muslim/middle-east countries - which saves the lives of our brave soldiers in the military.


Net Zero Energy Buildings Are Coming - What About The Buildings Already Standing?


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Buildings of the Future  *  EcoGeneration  *  Net Zero Energy  *  Solar Cogeneration  Trigeneration

"Changing the Way the World Makes and Uses Energy" SM

Austin, Texas






Net Zero Energy

The Audubon Nature Center Installs Solar Trigeneration  System Making this one of the 
World's First
Net Zero Energy Buildings" at Their New Facility in Los Angeles, California


Solar Trigeneration  Provides All of their Facility's (5000 sq.ft.) Cooling, 
Heating and Power Requirements at 12 noon or 12 midnite,
CONNECTION to the Electric Utility with our
Solar Trigeneration Energy System!  

The Sun Powers the Audubon Nature Center's Solar Trigeneration System at Debs Park in Los Angeles. 
The Audubon Nature Center's building is one of the world's first "
Net Zero Energy Buildings." 

The Solar Trigeneration System Consists of a 10 Ton Solar Absorption Cooling System 
Matched with a Solar Electric Power System and a
Solar Water Heating System

By:  Monty Goodell, MBA
Los Angeles, California

There is now a better, more efficient, “pollution free power” and "carbon free energy" solution for cooling, heating and powering homes and commercial buildings where solar energy is available. It's called Solar Trigeneration.

Solar Trigeneration is defined as the simultaneous generation of cooling, heating and power with only the free solar energy from the sun providing the "fuel". 

Solar Trigeneration is now a reality at the Audubon Center at Debs Park several miles from downtown Los Angeles and is one of the world's first "Net Zero Energy Building."

The Audubon Nature Center is totally powered by the sun’s energy and our Solar Trigeneration energy system!

The 5,300 square foot building operates entirely “grid-free” and without any electric connections to the electric grid, or natural gas connections – a truly sustainable power and energy solution. 

Best of all, the Audubon Center doesn’t rely on the over-burdened electric grid or even natural gas.  Therefore, the Audubon Nature Center NEVER receives an electric bill or natural gas bill.... ever!

The Audubon Nature Center's 5,000 square foot office and conference facility is powered by a Solar Trigeneration system that features a 25-kilowatt solar electric power system where the energy is stored in a bank of batteries. The Center is cooled by a 10-ton solar absorption cooling system powered by an array of very efficient solar heat pipe vacuum tube thermal collectors.  The collectors heat the water to temperatures of 200+ degree F stored in a 1,200 gallon insulated tank, another type of inexpensive battery. The Solar Trigeneration system at the Audubon not only provides the air-conditioning in the summer but also heats the building in the winter, and provides the hot water for the kitchen and bathrooms. 

Absorption chillers, and cooling with solar energy with an absorption chiller are not new technologies.  In fact, absorption chiller technology is over 70 years old.  The first refrigerators were powered by propane gas to run the absorption chillers that used ammonia as a refrigerant.  Electricity and the electric compression chiller gained popularity only because of the convenient “plug and play” appliance and relatively cheap electric rates.  Electricity is no longer economically, or environmentally “cheap.”

History of Cogeneration and Trigeneration

Few people realize that the world's first commercial power plant, designed and built by Thomas Edison, was a cogeneration power plant that was first opened on Pearl Street, in Lower Manhattan, New York.  That was in 1882!  Edison not only generated, and sold electricity in the several blocks surrounding his "Pearl Street Station" but he also sold the hot water that was also generated from the cogeneration plant. The fuel Edison used for generating the electricity and hot water (cogeneration) came from "pulverized coal." The Pearl Street Station provided 110 volts of "direct current" power to 59 customers in lower Manhattan, around his Pearl Street laboratory. 

Cogeneration is the simultaneous production of heat and power. 

Trigeneration is the simultaneous production of cooling, heating and power.

Our company, in partnership with the Renewable Energy Institute and our affiliated partners, have perfected "Solar Cogeneration" and "Solar Trigeneration" which are at the "heart" of Net Zero Energy Buildings.

Unlike traditional cogeneration and trigeneration power plants that are fueled by natural gas - and Thomas Edison's cogeneration plant, which was fueled with pulverized coal, our Solar Cogeneration and Solar Trigeneration energy systems are fueled with the energy of the sun!  And, while natural gas is a "cleaner" fuel, it still has its problems in that it is a limited resource and generates greenhouse gas emissions.  Natural gas also have had extreme price swings and has a history of price volatility.  Natural gas prices have gone from a high of $17.00/mmbtu to a recent low of under $3.00/mmbtu.  

Regarding pulverized coal, yes, it's cheap in terms of the cost of generating electricity, but too many people forget about the "externalities" of pulverized coal that is not reflected in the "cheap" costs of generating electricity from pulverized coal.  These costs not accounted for are the huge environmental cost relating to the use of pulverized coal.  Pound for pound, pulverized coal and coal fired power plants generate more greenhouse gas emissions than any other fossil fuel.  There are also the costs related to the health and safety issues of the miners that mine the coal.  And, the costs to the environment in terms of the ever-increasing amounts of mercury that are "dumped" into the environment from coal fired power plants, is also not reflected in the "cheap" price of generating power from pulverized coal.

Unlike the problems inherently found with the use of fossil fuels, Solar Cogeneration and Solar Trigeneration have no such problems. 

And talk about "cheap" costs of generating power and energy, there is nothing cheaper than free!!!!  

The owners of the Audubon Nature Center never receive any monthly natural gas or electric bills!

And the owners of the Audubon Nature Center will never have to account for their greenhouse gas emissions, or comply with the ever-increasing regulations related to greenhouse gas emissions thanks to a Solar Trigeneration energy system!

Solar Trigeneration is an EcoGeneration solution.  EcoGeneration refers to a power and energy system that uses the “natural” energy or fuel that is available for a specific site or location. Such energy or fuel includes, solar, wind, Biomethane, geothermal, and ocean power, including ocean tidal and ocean thermal energy conversion. For example, in the desert areas of the Southwestern U.S. , there is an abundance of solar energy. Therefore, home-owners and business owners in this part of the country should seriously consider an EcoGeneration system (“ecogen system”) that optimizes the opportunities available through solar energy

Today, the cause of the summer peak electric demand, electric supply problems, and black-outs, are the result of the energy crisis in California, primarily attributed to the air conditioning load. Over 40 percent of the electricity generated every day goes is used for air conditioning.  At this time of year, the electric utilities are forced to turn on all of their power plants to generate the “peak” demands required by the customers, primarily for air-conditioning.  This means that all of the efficient power plants, the inefficient power plants, along with all of the “peaking” power plants have to run to generate the electricity needed. The high cost of meeting the peak demand is passed on to the consumers with rates of $.20+ per kWh during the summer months. For fixed income seniors living in desert communities, they are already forced to conserve on energy, food, water, and other necessities of life. 

Greater Demands on California’s Limited Electric Supply, Lack of New Electric Power Supplies and a Summer Heat Wave Compounds the Problem Leading to the “Perfect Electric Storm”

Many people will remember the movie “The Perfect Storm” from several years ago, when several storms came together in the northeastern part of the U.S. to produce a deadly and catastrophic “perfect” storm. Today, a different type of “perfect storm” is brewing in California. The storm that’s looming on the horizon in California is a “perfect electric storm” wherein the supply of electricity from the electric utility company’s power plants are unable to keep-up with the demand – meaning a black-out, or loss of electricity, like the black-outs from previous years, and like the northeastern black-out from 2003.

The most likely time of year for a black-out in California, unfortunately, is the summer, when air-conditioners are running at the maximum, and placing the maximum load on California’s electricity supply.  Should such a black-out occur in the desert areas of California, where daily high temperatures routinely reach 110 degrees and higher, and where a significant percentage of the population is comprised of retired and senior citizens, and should the black-out be prolonged, a number of deaths will be the likely outcome. People, and especially the elderly, simply cannot tolerate prolonged high temperatures

How Do We Prevent the “Perfect Electric Storm” from Occurring in California and Other Regions in the U.S.?

Another major concern is how do we prevent the “Perfect Electric Storm” from happening, like the Northeast Blackout several summers ago, especially for people living in the desert?  California ’s energy authorities are warning of a possible energy crisis during the hot summer months, due to the excessive and prolonged summer temperatures where demand increases by over 40 percent.  Compounding the problem is the rising demand for electricity due to population growth and the limited transmission capacity in some areas in the region.  According to the California Energy Commission, the State must build three natural gas-fired 500-megawatt peaking power plants, every year, just to keep up with the growing demands of electricity. Failure to keep up with demand means The problem is getting worse due to the population growth in the Inland Empire , Coachella Valley and Antelope Valley. The projected power gap for the coming summers remains bleak.

Governor Schwarzenegger’s “Million Solar Roofs” program and the passage of the 2005 Federal Energy Act will be the foundation to create a “Perfect Solar Storm” to trigger the Solar Economy throughout California. 

With the threat of California’s seniors and elderly dying from heat exhaustion due to power outages, black-outs, rolling black-outs and the rising costs of electricity and natural gas, combined with the continuing impact of global warming, the perfect solution is to create a Solar Revolution by cooling, heating and powering the desert with solar energy and technologies like Solar Cogeneration or Solar Trigeneration.

For more information about Solar Energy Systems, such as Solar Cogeneration or Solar Trigeneration, call/email the Renewable Energy Institute.


The Audubon Center's new Solar Trigeneration power and energy system
makes this building a "
Net Zero Energy Building"


The Audubon's Roof showing the Solar Thermal Collectors, part of the 
Solar Trigeneration power and energy system


The heart of the Audubon's Solar Trigeneration power and energy system
provides "free heating, cooling and domestic hot water," a "
net zero energy building."



The hot water from the Solar Thermal Collectors on the roof of the Audubon is pumped here for producing 
the building's heating, cooling and domestic hot water. Hot water is stored in the tank on the left for overnight.


Clean Power Generation Solutions

CHP Systems (Cogeneration and Trigeneration) Plants
Have Very High Efficiencies, Low Fuel Costs & Low Emissions

The Effective Heat Rate is Approximately
4100 btu/kW & System Efficiency is 92% Plant.

The CHP System below is Rated at 900 kW and Features:
(2) Natural Gas Engines @ 450 kW each on one Skid with Optional
Selective Catalytic Reduction
system that removes Nitrogen Oxides to "non-detect."

Our CHP Systems (available in either cogeneration or trigeneration may be the best solution for your company's economic and environmental sustainability as we "upgrade" natural gas to clean power with our clean power generation solutions.

Our Emissions Abatement solutions reduce Nitrogen Oxides to "non-detect" which means our CHP Systems can be installed and operated in most EPA non-attainment regions!

What is "Decentralized Energy"?

Decentralized Energy is the opposite of "centralized energy."  

Decentralized Energy energy generates the power and energy that a residential, commercial or industrial customer needs, onsite. Examples of decentralized energy production are natural gas fueled CHP Systems, Rooftop PV and solar cogeneration energy systems.

Today's electric utility industry was "born" in the 1930's, when fossil fuel prices were cheap, and the cost of wheeling the electricity via transmission power lines, was also cheap.  "Central" power plants could be located hundreds of miles from the load centers, or cities, where the electricity was needed. These extreme inefficiencies and cheap fossil fuel prices have added a considerable economic and environmental burden to the consumers and the planet.

Centralized energy is found in the form of electric utility companies that generate power from "central" power plants. Central power plants are highly inefficient, averaging only 33% net system efficiency.  This means that the power coming to your home or business - including the line losses and transmission inefficiencies of moving the power - has lost 75% to as much as 80% energy it started with at the "central" power plant.  These losses and inefficiencies translate into significantly increased energy expenses by the residential and commercial consumers.

Decentralized Energy
is the Best Way to Generate Clean and Green Energy! 

How we make and distribute electricity is changing! 

The electric power generation, transmission and distribution system (the electric "grid") is changing and evolving from the electric grid of the 19th and 20th centuries, which was inefficient, highly-polluting, very expensive and “dumb.”  

The "old" way of generating and distributing energy resembles this slide:


The electric grid of the 21st century (see slide below) will be Decentralized, Smart, Efficient and provide "carbon free energy" and "pollution free power” to customers who remain on the electric grid.  Some customers will choose to dis-connect from the grid entirely.  (Electric grid represented by the small light blue circles in the slide below.)



About us:

The founder of the Renewable Energy Institute (REI) was first involved in Net Zero Energy buildings and Solar Trigeneration sm energy system in 2001 - 2002.  This started with family-owned real estate developments in Northern and Southern California.  This interest was accelerated when REI's founder was introduced to the President of a solar company in Los Angeles and their client, the Audubon Nature Center at Deb's Park (Los Angeles) that was planning to build a new 5,000 sf office and conference center. Except, the new building for the Audubon Nature Center was about 1/2 mile from the end of the power lines and a very costly extension of the power lines to their new facility forced them to consider a solar solution. When the Audubon Nature Center's new 5,000 sf office and conference center was completed in 2003, the facility not only featured the Solar Trigeneration sm energy system - they were awarded one of the first Platinum LEED Awards by the USGBC - and the powerlines were still 1/2 mile away! To this day, 100% of the power and energy for the Audubon Nature Center's building is supplied by the Solar Trigeneration sm energy system - whether at 12 noon, or 12 midnite.  (The Audubon's facility also includes a battery energy storage system for back-up power generated by the Rooftop PV panels as well as a thermal energy storage system that stores the excess hot water generated by the evacuated tube collectors).

These early projects led to more client inquiries and engagements with real estate developers, architects and building owners in Southern California, Louisiana and Texas and the advent of a growing Net Zero Energy industry along with Solar Cogeneration sm  & Solar Trigeneration sm energy systems. This culminated in a family-owned 200 (Net Zero Energy) home real estate development in Desert Hot Springs which has been approved but not yet constructed. 

During this time, the REI's Founder became a volunteer and Advisor to the University of Texas' Solar Decathlon Competition. He coordinated the donation of the same solar thermal system used at the Audubon Nature Center's facility in Los Angeles, for UT's entry in the 2002 Solar Decathlon Competition in Washington, D.C.  UT's entry in the Solar Decathlon Competition placed 1st in the domestic hot water competition that year (2002) and 4th overall, out of 20 universities that had entered. 

In 2006, after Hurricane Kattrina devastated New Orleans, the REI was formed and several of the REI's board members and a Professor from the University of Texas School of Architecture formed a design team to enter the Brad Pitt/Global Green Rebuild New Orleans Competition.  Our entry also focused on sustainable building solutions and materials as well as the Net Zero Energy concepts, incorporating once again, a Solar Trigeneration sm energy system. 

Today, the REI "Flagship" has chartered the Renewable Energy Institute in Florida, with discussions to open REI state chapters in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Minnesota and Oregon. 

The REI supports greater use of Net Zero Energy systems by architects, builders, homeowners and owners of commercial buildings. This includes "upgrading" homes and commercial buildings to Net Zero Energy.  The REI provides Net Zero Energy; advertising, business development, conferences, e-commerce, education, marketing, online marketing, public relations, renewable energy, sales and strategic marketing solutions for architects, builders, cities, colleges, HVAC contractors, Net Zero Energy developers, real estate developers and universities.

Net Zero Energy Buildings Are Next Frontier


Net Zero Energy Market to Become $1.3 Trillion/year Industry by 2035

Net Zero Energy Buildings Are Coming - What About The Buildings Already Standing?


We support the Renewable Energy Institute and the American Energy Plan by donating a portion of our profits to the Renewable Energy Institute.  The time has come for America to become energy independent and to begin the transition away from fossil fuels by increasing the amount of clean, renewable energy in the USA.  Renewable energy generates no; Carbon Emissions, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, Greenhouse Gas Emissions or Hazardous Air Pollutants. Increased renewable energy production in the U.S. generates new American jobs while decreasing our dependence on foreign oil.  With oil at $100/barrel, America spends 1/2 Trillion dollars every year buying foreign oil.

The Renewable Energy Institute is "Changing The Way The World Makes and Uses Energy by Providing Research & Development, Funding and Resources That Creates Sustainable Energy via 'Carbon Free Energy,' 'Clean Power Generation' and 'Pollution Free Power' Through Expanding the use of Renewable Energy Technologies."


  Renewable Energy Institute

"Leading the Renewable Energy Revolution"

Email:  info(@)Renewable Energy Institute (.)org




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