Category Archives: Green Building

Greening Beer – Notes and Highlights

For your viewing pleasure I will combine two things I greatly enjoy: Beer and the Environment. When breweries make it a priority to reduce their impact on the environment and try to give back, only great things can happen. Here are a select few that are doing just that; enjoy, and feel free to suggest other breweries that are making a difference (I know there are many more out there).
Central Waters Brewing Company – Amherst, Wisconsin
  • 1000 square feet of solar thermal collectors. The collectors produce around 2500 therms per year and Central Waters will save between $1.4 and $1.5 million over the life of the system.

    Solar Thermal Collectors at Central Waters Brewery

  • The brewery also uses a radiant floor heating system and more energy efficient lighting systems
  • They also work with local farmers in order to recycle the grain used in the brewing process. The spent grain is taken by the farmers and used as feed for livestock, and also as a compost.
Brewery Vivant – Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • In February 2012, Brewery Vivant was honored with the first Silver LEED certification awarded to a microbrewery in the U.S. and also published their first sustainability report. (triplepundit.com)
  • The brewery offsets 100 percent of its energy usage through purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs)
  • They choose to deliver their beer in aluminum cans. Cans protect the beer from light, oxygen, and other factors that could negatively affect the taste. Cans are also easier to transport and are more easily recycled (54% of aluminum cans are recycled in the US, vs 36% of glass bottles being recycled).
  • Very aggressive economic, social, and environmental goals that put them on the fast track to being a leader in the microbrewery industry. Some of those goals include:
    • Zero waste to landfill
    • 50% of food inputs from within 250 miles and 25% of beer inputs from 250 miles
    • 10% onsite renewable energy generation
    • Employee profit sharing program
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company – Chico, California (One of my personal favorites)
  • They completed what is now one of the largest privately owned solar installations in the country in December of 2008. They currently have a carport array that has a potential output of 503 kW DC and they also have a rooftop array that produces an additional 1.42 Megawatts DC. They also have an array on the daycare facility that has a potential capacity of 5.18 kW DC and another array on the rail facility that can produce 14 kW DC. All-in-all, the solar systems at Sierra Nevada are capable of producing 1.94 Megawatts DC. (Sierra Nevada Environmental Stewardship)
  • Sierra Nevada also produced another first when they installed hydrogen fuel cells in 2005, the first brewing operation in the United States to do so. This system consists of four 300 kW fuel cell energy units that can produce 1.2 Megawatts DC when combined. You can check out their real time power production here.

    Fuel Cells at the Sierra Nevada Brewery

  • Sierra Nevada implements many other energy efficiency and sustainable practices including:
    • Ultra efficient lighting system and the use of daylighting
    • The recycling of waste heat
    • They divert 99.6% of solid waste from the landfill with a goal to reach 100%
    • HotRot Composting System – providing compost for their hop field, restaurant garden, and employee garden area.
    • Use homegrown ingredients in beer and restaurant.
    • Transportation – They utilize a hybrid electric local route truck, constructed a rail car unloading facility near their plant to reduce the negative impact of transportation, and also utilize the spent vegetable oil from their taproom and restaurant to power their biodiesel transportation fleet.
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Filed under Beer, brewery, Brewing, Carbon Footprint, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Green Building, Recycled Materials, Renewable Energy, Solar

Brazil Hopes to Make the 2014 FIFA World Cup the Most Sustainable Yet

Considering my love for soccer and interest in renewable energy, this story about the 2014 World Cup caught my eye (and reinforced my decision to make the trip in two years). Using solar technology as the lynchpin, Brazil has set a goal of meeting minimum LEED sustainability standards in all 12 of their venues for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Professional athletics and renewable energy appear to be on a collision course for the greater good. Large solar and renewable energy companies are beginning to invest large amounts of money into athletic team sponsorships and advertising. On the other side, professional athletic clubs have seen the public relations benefits and money saving potential in adopting renewable energy and sustainable building.

This seemingly match made in heaven will benefit us all. Millions of people each year attend sporting events and watch on TV (people watch the Super Bowl just to see the ads). What better way to spread renewable energy technologies and sustainable living practices than through professional sports teams and large sporting venues.

The Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasília (Source: Castro Mello Arq. Esportiva via Renewableenergyworld.com)

Brazil will be taking sustainable building and renewable energy to a whole new level in 2014. The World Cup is already the largest sporting event in the world – according to FIFA.com over 3.2 billion people watched at least one minute of the 2010 World Cup – and now they aim to make it the most sustainable event yet. Of the twelve stadiums that plan to meet minimum LEED sustainable standards, 7 plan to integrate solar into the design. The highlight will be the Mane Garrincha (pictured above) in Brasilia – this venue will hopefully be the first football(soccer) stadium in the world to achieve LEED Platinum status, the highest level available. A 2.5 MW solar array installed on the tensioned canvas roof will help get it there. This system will cover more than 50% of the electricity needed during peak tournament times and will produce more than enough during normal operation, allowing the stadium to feed the excess into the grid.

Other highlights of stadium construction in Brazil include: the Maracanã in Rio, the host of the final, which will feature a ring of solar panels in the roof, the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte will have around 1.5 MWp of solar installed on its roof, and the Pernambuco Arena in Recife will install solar heating to supply the hot water in changing rooms, restrooms, and restaurants.

One of the largest drivers of renewable energy at the World Cup and sport in general  is Yingli Solar. “In 2010, Yingli Solar became the first renewable energy company to sponsor the FIFA World Cup.” (FIFA.com) As a result of this partnership, Yingli agreed to install PV Solar technology at 20 Football for Hope centers developed in Africa during the 2010 World Cup. Yingli has also partnered with some other very prominent sporting organizations in order to spread “green” awareness and build their brand. They are currently the official sponsors of the 2014 World Cup, the United States Men’s, Women’s, and Youth Soccer Teams, FC Bayern Munich Soccer,  and the New York Jets. Yingli provided the Jets with more than 3000 solar panels for an installation on their practice facility. The 690 kWp system is the largest installation at an NFL team headquarters.

Huge solar installation at the Jets team headquarters. The largest PV install at an NFL team headquarters.

These are just a few examples of professional athletics “going green” and the trend seems to be catching on around the country (and world). However, considering that nearly half of the Earth’s population will see some of the World Cup, the fact that Brazil has committed to renewable energy will have a great impact on how the people of the world view sustainability. Read more here about Brazil’s efforts to adopt PV solar technology by 2014.

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Filed under Conservation, Environment, Green Building, Green Technology, Renewable Energy, Solar

In Case You Missed It: Vol. 9

We have taken a few weeks off so for this edition of ICYMI we are bringing you important news from what has been taking up all of our time.
Anywhere Solar Technologies is bringing you the most versatile and innovative solar modules to hit the market. The official release party took place last week at the International Builders Show in Orlando, FL on February 8th.

SS-3205 – It’s Time To Get Smart About Solar

The SS-3205 is the perfect combination of performance, style and innovation. It’s compact size, coupled with the ability to be arranged virtually anywhere the sun shines will create a whole new view on the collection of solar energy. No longer are we tied to expensive, distracting roof-top arrays. Today, believe that solar power where you want it is the future and the SS-3205 is the perfect vehicle to move the world beyond conventional solar power!

With Anywhere Solar’s highest powered solar module there are truly no limits to where you can produce free clean energy!

Check out this unique installation we just completed. By attaching SS-3205’s around the entire roof railing we have been producing on average 723 watt hours per day for the past week.

Before

Simple attachment to the roof

After the Install - Can you spot the solar?

Contact bennet@anywheresolartech.com for more information about Anywhere Solar Technologies and the SS-3205.

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Volume 6!

  1. Chicago is set to build the biggest urban park in the country. “This park is said to be bigger than Central Park (843 acres) and 10 times bigger than Manhattan itself.”

    The new park will be built on 140,000 acres on the southern rim of the city.

  2. To keep you hip to the technology innovations in the industry I bring you paint-on solar cells. That’s right, the next coat of paint you put on your house could produce electricity. Researchers at Notre Dame University are working on a spreadable compound using power producing nanoparticles. Right now they are only seeing an energy conversion efficiency of 1% compared to the 15% seen in traditional cells so it may be some time before we start painting our walls with solar cells.
  3. The Summer Olympic Games are taking place this summer in London and the host city is leading by example as they become the first host to focus on sustainability throughout the planning process. Education seems to be an important part of this plan as they are involving the community and emphasizing the importance of living within the World’s resources. You can read more about the sustainably built Velodrome here.

    The London 2012 Velodrome

  4.  And finally I leave you with this alarming, very well done video recapping the Gulf oil spill in 2010. Puts into perspective just how much oil we consume in the United States (spoiler alert: we use too much).

Oil’d from Chris Harmon on Vimeo.

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Filed under Carbon Footprint, Conservation, Cycling, Energy Efficiency, Green Building, Renewable Energy, Solar, Water conservation

Best of Green Schools 2011 and Other Feel Good Stories

The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, with the goal of making sure every student has the opportunity to attend a green school within this generation, released its “Best of Green Schools 2011 List.” This list focuses on all levels of school (K-12 to higher education) and recognizes the leaders that create sustainable learning environments for their students. Here are a few notable highlights from that list:

  • The State of Ohio leads the way with more green school projects in the works than any other state. There are a total of 319 LEED registered and certified projects.
  • Lake Mills Middle School in Lake Mills, Wisconsin became the first public school in the country to achieve LEED Platinum certification. The school is now “45% more efficient than a conventional school, yielding a total annual energy savings of $85,000.” (www.miron-contstuction.com)
  • Policy makers on the Washington D.C. City Council passed the Healthy School Act 2010 which builds upon the requirement and encouragement for all schools to achieve LEED Gold Certification.

For more on “Best of Green Schools 2011,” click here.

Now I will present another type of leader in green education that we have had the privilege of experiencing firsthand. Last October at the Greenbuild Conference in San Francisco we met a group of students from the Developing Virtue Schools that were exploring the show for new and exciting technologies that they could incorporate into a year-long sustainability project. They became very interested in our PV Solar Shutter and immediately wanted to get one for their school. After the show, they remained in touch, sending us news of their campaign to get solar in their school. They raised renewable energy awareness and enough money from fellow classmates and teachers to actually get one shutter installed in a classroom, one of the more inspirational things I have witnessed.

Alisha posing with their new Solar Shutter!

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Filed under Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Green Building, Innovation, Renewable Energy, Solar, Uncategorized

Big Schools Doing Big Things!

Considering that most of the employees at PNS are freshly out of college we like to  stay on top of the happenings at various universities around the country and talk about what we would have done differently if we could repeat our 4 years of school (Do more while doing less…everyone’s dream).

Now that we are in the renewable energy business, we are constantly looking for the institution that is doing the next big thing in industry (be it renewable energy, energy efficiency, environmental education, etc.)

Today, a very exciting piece of news was released that inspired this post.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “ Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to announce on Monday that Cornell University won the high-profile competition to build a new applied-science campus in New York City.” This $2 Billion project will be New York’s largest solar and geothermal installation to date in addition to the 22,500 million BTUs from natural gas fuel cells will create per year. All in all, this mix of renewable energy sources has the potential to reduce total electricity consumption at the campus by 75%. Once finished, the campus will be the largest net-zero building East of the Mississippi. Read more here.

This project is obviously huge, so tomorrow we will highlight some small universities doing some really great things.

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In Case You Missed It: Vol. 2

Courtesy of One Block Off the Grid

  1. A very cool info graphic and article that shows what kind of return you could expect on a $20,000 solar installation. When you compare the return to a general savings account, solar becomes a no-brainer. In New Jersey you could turn your $20,000 investment into $118,001 in 18 years.
  2. The Greening of the Military – Marines have begun using solar energy to power forward operating bases in the Middle East. This reduces the need to transport large amounts of fuel across long distances of dangerous territory, thus protecting the lives of our young men and women and giving our military a competitive advantage. The U.S. Military is also a driving force in adopting new and alternative fuel sources here in the states.
  3. The Adventure of the Short Stack Solar module has begun. Our newest product has stepped out of the shop and started its journey to Orlando, FL for the 2012 International Builders Show in February. (shameless plug).
  4. And finally, a big shout out to our Alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan. This past weekend the Men’s Soccer Soccer Team became the 2011 NCAA D3 National Champions! Check out these great highlights of the tournament.

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Filed under Energy Efficiency, Environment, Green Building, Renewable Energy, Solar