Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont offers over 80 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft and offers a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design. Now in its 35th year, Yestermorrow is one of the only design/build schools in the country, teaching both design and construction skills. Our hands-on 1-day to 3-week workshops, certificate programs and semester programs are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country. For people of all ages and experience levels, from novice to professional.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yestermorrow goes solar

After years of dreaming about how we could produce more of our own energy, we're thrilled to be implementing two major renewable energy projects on the Yestermorrow campus.

In September we learned we'd been awarded one of the Vermont Community Climate Change Grants to install a solar hot water system for our domestic hot water use (kitchen, showers, etc). We've received $11,850 from the state for this project, and are partnering with GroSolar to design the system which we hope to install in the next couple of months. It will include 6 flat plate collectors mounted on the east side of the roof of the main building and a couple hundred gallons of super insulated storage tanks in the basement. In addition to lessening our fossil fuel consumption (we currently use propane to heat our hot water), we are also hoping this project will provide an educational demonstration site for people interested in learning more about solar hot water systems. We'll have informative signage on all the equipment and will run a solar hot water workshop in conjunction with the installation, so stay tuned for more details on that learning opportunity.

On Friday we also signed an agreement with Earth Turbines in Williston, VT to install a 32kW photovoltaic array at Yestermorrow. This installation through their All Sun Trackers lease program allows us to purchase the solar energy produced by the PV panels through net metering via a 5-year lease. The 32kW installation is expected to generate close to 45,000 kWh of electricity per year- enough to cover Yestermorrow's annual electricity consumption for the entire campus. The panels are what's known as "solar trackers"- ground mounted panels which move with the sun across the sky to maximize the amount of energy they create. We're currently in the process of finalizing the tracker locations, permitting and obtaining a certificate of public good from the state of VT, but if all goes well we'll have the panels installed by the end of the year.

We'll be documenting both projects extensively and posting photos to the blog as we move forward.

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