A passive solar, super-insulated house will be open for tours at 1:00 and 2:00 pm on Saturday, February 25 in North Franklin, CT.
Currently under construction, the house has unique low U value French Bieber windows; a four-inch thick polished concrete floor; curved beams supporting two roofs that will be covered with vegetation; and a geothermal heating and cooling system.
Tickets: $15. Ticket information: 860-623-5487. Tour information: 860-693-4813. Sponsored by People’s Action for Clean Energy.
Last Tuesday, at the GreenGov Symposium at George Washington University the Obama Administration announced its decision to use solar panels and a solar hot water heater in the White House. This decision has generated a lot of media attention. John M. Broder, of the New York Times Green blog said in his October 5th post that “The announcement is part of a broader administration push to promote renewable energy and reduce emissions of climate altering gases produced by fossil fuels.”
Just a month ago Bill McKibben of 350.org attempted to convince the Obama Administration to reinstall President Carter’s solar panels. Broder mentions that McKibben’s feelings toward the decision are all positive, Broder says, “He is thrilled that the White House has finally seen the light.” It is an interesting choice of words considering the rays of sun that will soon heat parts of the White House Residence.
Returning from a trip to Washington, DC to meet with legislators and understand more about the mission of the American Business Council, led me to realize the influence that public policy has - particularly on ushering in and ensuring which innovative ideas rise to the top and take hold. Take this one for example: solar roadways that end our addiction to fossil fuels and pay for themselves. Is it really that simple, or do we need to consider whether our fossil fuel addiction could be replaced by a lithium addiction. Techy experts, please weigh in...
Actually, yes. Under a new federal program, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund is offering immediate rebates to homeowners, businesses and organizations that purchase solar-powered hot water heaters when they work with an approved contractor.
The way the program works, homeowners and businesses gather cost estimates from the list of eligible contractors, who evaluate how much energy is generated from sunlight at the home or business during the winter months.
Using a solar path finder, the contractor measures the shading and enters the information into a computer program to determine how much energy (in BTUs) the solar thermal hot water heater is likely to get from the sun, says Stephen Wierzbicki, president of Nutmeg Mechanical Services in Manchester, one of the approved contractors.
The more energy generated by the sun, the bigger the rebate.
While the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund website says rebates could be as much as $4,800 for a large house, Wierzbicki says most homes his company has measured don't have optimal solar conditions, so the rebate typically is closer to about $3,000.
Most of his customers pay about $11,000 to $12,000 after the rebate, he said. After-rebate prices for the solar thermal hot water heater and its installation vary, depending on the size of the water heater and how much solar energy each house generates. Homeowners don't have to wait for the rebate; the installer charges the after-rebate price.
By John Burgeson Staff writer, Connecticut Post Updated: 09/20/2009 12:18:22 AM EDT
NEW HAVEN ---- Looking a little like a 19th century Vermont barn, the newest building on the Yale University campus is attracting international attention because it's one of the most environmentally friendly buildings of its type in the world.
Kroon Hall, around the corner from the Peabody Museum, is the new home of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
It gets electricity from the sun. Geothermal energy provides heat and air conditioning. Rainwater from the roof and grounds is used to run the commodes. Solar panels heat the water. In the winter, heat exchangers pull heat energy from warm exhaust air to aid the heating system.
Experts say that it uses about half the electricity than what would be expected for a building its size, and the photovoltaic array on the roof supply one-fourth of the remaining electrical load.
The structure is heated and cooled entirely with geothermal energy ---- there's no backup furnace or air conditioning system ---- or even a water heater for that matter.
Kroon is designed so it won't require much heating and cooling in the first place. Its east-west orientation maximizes solar heating in the winter, and the 23-degree tilt of the exterior slats deflect the sun's rays when it's high in the sky in the summer months. The massive concrete superstructure--there's no steel skeleton--acts as a huge heat sink. This "thermal mass" absorbs heart during the summer months, which slowly radiates
Thank you to our Friends at Connecticut Fund for the Environment, who say that YOU...the readers and supporters of CT GreenScene are making a difference!
"On behalf of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, thank you
for your testimony and calls of support throughout the legislative session!
Your enthusiasm has been a tremendous help.
Now we need one last big push to get these key bills through
the Senate. Please call your senators immediately to make sure these bills make
it to the floor before the end of session tomorrow."
Growing Solar Power
Our allies have been working hard on
this bill, and it’s paid off! HB 6635, An Act Concerning Solar Power,
passed the House unanimously yesterday. Let’s get it through the Senate
and get started—the bill will create at least 30 megawatts worth of new
residential solar, encourage large-scale commercial solar projects, and create
a new financing model for renewable energy credits.
Trees are experts at converting the sun into energy, and the people at Solar Botanic Energy Systems have come up with a way to create artificial trees in order to harness the power of the sun and wind. With the use of nanotechnology, the twenty different species of trees that Solar Botanic Energy creates will create energy much the same way that regular trees do. Due to the combination of photovoltaic and thermovoltaic in the nanoleaves, they are able to convert light and heat into energy. Almost all of the light from the sun will be absorbed, except for the green light, and the leaves will also absorb the infrared wave, or radiation, even hours after the sun has set.
To fully integrate all the aspects of a tree, Solar Botanic Energy has also infused the twigs and branches with nano piezo-electric elements. These elements detect the stresses on the twigs and branches whenever the leaves flap in the wind or rain. Every time they flap, the nano piezo-electric elements will produce thousands of picowatts of energy. The stronger the wind, the more energy the tree can produce.
Solar Botanic Energy has decided to start plant their first palm tree in the Middle East. This palm tree should produce 5000 kilowatts hours per year. The company has already begun offering these trees to the government. The lifespan of these trees are about 30 years. Not only does it offer cheaper electricity alternatives, it also offers the same benefits as regular trees from shade to windbreaking and cooling. Solar Botanic Energy offers low installation costs and there is also governmental grants available for the planting of the trees.
Thule Inc., best known for its vehicle roof rack systems, will install a 318-kilowatt solar power system at its U.S. headquarters in Seymour, Connecticut.
Thule’s system will consist of two separate arrays with a total of 1,876 solar panels mounted on the rooftop of the Thule Distribution Center. The PV system will supply an estimated 324,800 kWh annually, or about 26 percent of the facility’s electrical needs.
The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund has approved a $1.3 million grant for the project. The project is organized as a power purchase agreement with Nautilus Solar Energy acting as the system owner. Under the PPA, Thule purchases the electricity produced by the system at a fixed price below its current utility rate, and Nautilus receives federal tax incentives, rebates and renewable energy credits associated with the project.
Kohl’s Department Stores plans to convert more than 50 of its existing stores in New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland to solar power. That represents nearly 80 percent of its locations in these three states. The work began in January. When it’s complete, Kohl’s says it will be the largest retail host of solar power.
Kohl’s also has converted more than 25 of its 88 California locations to solar power and plans to activate about 50 more sites in the state. Solar installations are under way at three Kohl’s locations in Wisconsin and the company hopes to add other states to its solar program before year-end. On average, solar panels provide 30 percent of a stores’ annual energy.
In April 2007, Kohl’s made the largest commitment to solar energy in U.S. history.
Kohl’s was the thirteenth largest corporate purchaser of green power in the U.S., according to the US EPA.
The company has also plans to pursue LEED certification for every store to break ground in 2008 — or more than 80 locations.