Our Top 5 Solar Installations:
(Disclaimer – Not all of these installs are recent but they’re new discoveries for us)
- One of the largest privately owned solar systems belongs to one of my favorite private companies – The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Sierra Nevada produces around 40% of their own energy with this solar installation. All in all, their solar systems include over 10,000 individual panels! Source: Government Technology
In 2008 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. completed construction on one of the largest private solar arrays in the United States. Courtesy of Sierra Nevada
- The work has started on the world’s largest photovoltaic array (it will also claim the title of world’s largest solar bridge). The Blackfriars Bridge, in the heart of London, will be the home of 4,400 solar panels with the ability to create 900 MWh of electricity per year. (Source: Clean Technica)
The world’s largest solar bridge Is halfway complete. 900MWh per year!
- The New York Jets adopt solar with a massive solar array atop their practice facility. 3000 panels from Yingli Solar have been installed and will provide 750,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. (Source: CNet)
The N.Y. Jets go green with this massive solar installation at their practice facility.
- A solar waterfall could be powering the next Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. Ok, this project is still in the design phase but if completed it would be an amazing structure. (Source: RAFAA Architecture and Design)
This ambitious project would produce electricity with solar panels during the day and water turbines at night.
- And finally, what’s not to love about this solar install? (Source: Dwell)
Students from Appalachian State designed this solar array to double as an outdoor living area. They entered this solar array in the U.S. Department of Energy 2011 Solar Decathlon.
It has been quite some time since we have made a new post so for this blog post I would like to get back into things with a short and simple post highlighting a company that I think is worth following as they try to revolutionize the grocery shopping game.
For in.gredients, the concept is pretty simple. They aim to create the country’s first package free and zero waste grocery store. However, carrying out that concept may prove to be a challenge (think of all the packaging you see at your grocery store/supermarket).
Bring clean containers from home, fill them, weigh them, and then pay.
The store is not open yet but progress is taking place and they plan on opening their microgrocery store in Austin, TX later this year. Let’s hope for the success of in.gredients so it can be a model for other stores of its kind.
We had the recent opportunity to learn about a new urban tree initiative (San Diego County Tree Map) that aims to visually display the eco-impact of existing trees growing in urban areas. We all know that plants and trees do more than just take up space and look nice, they have a positive impact on our environment, and our economic and social well-being. I will highlight some of those benefits below to show the role trees play in our daily lives:
- Carbon Removal – with climate change taking a forefront in our environmental and political lives we now understand the importance of being aware of how are actions affect the atmosphere. As trees grow, they use carbon dioxide, thus removing it from the air.
- Soil Conservation – Trees play an important role in soil conservation, they reduce rainwater runoff and soil erosion due to the roots holding soil in place. These roots also absorb and reduce the amount of contaminants in the soil.
- Energy Conservation – Existing trees and strategically planted trees around a home provide shading and serve as a natural cooling device, thus reducing the need to rely on air-conditioning and reducing energy consumption. They can also block winter winds, allowing the homeowner to use less energy in heating.
- Look beautiful
- Produce oxygen
- Create privacy
- Provide wildlife habitats
- Provide noise reduction
- Increase property values
A recent report from the American Society of Landscape Architects – San Diego Chapter states that trees “enhance community economic stability by attracting businesses and tourists with a corresponding increase in property values. Trees contribute to the success of business districts, apartment complexes, residential properties and offices.”
Most of these benefits are more or less common knowledge. But some recent number crunching and a tree mapping project aims to show us the huge monetary benefits trees have. This very cool and interesting online map (San Diego Tree Map) actually shows the money ($$$$) saved from a variety of the tree benefits already listed. For example, in one year, this Moreton Bay Fig in the heart of Balboa Park, San Diego (pictured below) has…
- conserved 183.30 kWh of energy for a value of $29.84
- intercepted 2045.80 gallons of stormwater for a value of $3.74
- removed 1.03 lbs. of air pollutants for a value of $66.43
- and stored 5,903.65 lbs. of carbon dioxide to date for a value of $118.07
This tree has saved $102.73 in one year alone, and that is just one tree out of the hundreds of thousands in the San Diego area. The monetary benefits truly add up.
Moreton Bay Fig, Balboa Park
So next time you are out enjoying nature, look at the trees around you and not only marvel at their beauty and environmental benefits, think about the amount of $ this tree is providing to your community. And if you have the opportunity and space, plant a tree of your own and see the benefits grow before your own eyes.
Thanks to these sources:
“Benefit of Trees.” California Center for Sustainable Energy –. Web. 03 Mar. 2012. <http://energycenter.org/index.php/benefits-of-trees/benefit-of-trees>.
“Benefits of Planting and Growing Trees.” Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Web. 03 Mar. 2012. <http://ohiodnr.com/Home/education/BenefitsofPlantingandGrowingTrees/tabid/5104/Default.aspx>.
“San Diego TreeMap.” San Diego Tree Map. Web. 03 Mar. 2012. <http://sandiegotreemap.org/map/>.
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.
Each and every day we come across some very interesting goodies on the World Wide Web. Each week we will compile our favorites right here so you can share in some of that goodness. Here is Volume 1 for your viewing pleasure!
- Terracycle – we did a spotlight (found here) on this wonderful company recently and love what they are doing. They are signing people up to collect anything from pens to juice boxes to candy wrappers to cork to cell phones to key boards and back again. They pay for you to ship it to them and then they “upcycle it” (turn it into a cool new product or material). For example here is a large tote bag made entirely from used Capri Sun drink pouches and here is a short video with the founder and CEO of Terracycle, Tom Szaky.
- PlanetSolar– The logbook of the crew with the goal to be the “first to circumnavigate the globe in a “solar” boat, i.e. one driven by a silent, pollution-free electrical engine powered exclusively by solar energy.”
PlanetSolar team navigating near Monaco
- Solar Power is not just for your roof anymore. Within the next five years expect to see it popping up in your siding, windows, walls, and more. Installed building integrated photovoltaic technology is predicted to exceed 1 gigawatt by 2016.
- Solar Roadways – An awesome documentary clip explaining the research and development of solar roadways. I encourage you all to watch!
- And finally, in light of the recent success of The Muppets…
Kermit the Frog reminds us all to "be green" and recycle!
Filed under Carbon Footprint, Cell Phone, Conservation, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Green Technology, Innovation, NAHB, Recycled Materials, Renewable Energy, Solar, Upcycle
This past Tuesday, I was invited to a screening of the documentary Y.E.R.T.(Your Environmental Road Trip) at California Center for Sustainable Energy. It was an inspiring film and I thought I’d share clips from the flick that I can’t stop thinking about. First up…SOLAR ROADS!
Bennet – PNS Energy
Having solar panels has, to this point, been a luxury item and, even in the corporate world, only the elite brands (those we all know make tons of money) have been making the commitment to change to solar power.
Kohl’s Department Stores has taken their commitment to using solar (as part of their energy usage reduction plan) so much more mainstream.
The brand recognizes that as a company that focuses on their retail stores, their biggest environmental impact is in energy usage. How about these accomplishments (taken from http://www.kohlsgreenscene.com/Energy/EnergyEfficiency.html):
- 50 ENERGY STAR labeled stores
- 116 activated solar sites
- #1 Retailer for Green Power Purchases, #2 Overall and #12 for On-Site Generation
- 100% of all Power used by Kohl’s comes from renewable energy sources
- Energy Star Partner of the Year Award—2010 and 2011
Kohls has Installed Solar Panels on 116 Stores (solarpanelspower.net)
You can check out the Kohl’s Green Scene
to see the depth of their whole environmental commitment. You can go to your local Kohls and see the corporate commitment in action. How cool is it that more people can exercise their option to choose to buy from a company that is really practicing great environmental leadership?
As more companies prove that you can be both environmentally friendly and profitable, choices will open up. For example, look at what is happening at Johnson & Johnson or IKEA or Google. It is so exciting that it might be time to start looking at the companies we buy from every day and try to make buying choices that reflect environmental values.
The Johnson & Johnson Solar Array – the largest solar array in New Jersey