WinnCompanies Installs Solar Power in MA and CT
Boston, MA, Jan. 25 — WinnCompanies has announced it has completed solar power installations at seven locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The scope of these installations on affordable housing units, delivering nearly one megawatt of solar power, is one of the largest initiatives put forward in the United States.
Besides two featured Massachusetts properties in New Bedford and Boston, locations in Connecticut include Mill Pond, a 360 unit affordable housing apartment community set on 47 acres of open fields in Broad Brook, Schoolhouse Apartments, senior apartment community located near downtown Waterbury, Sunset Ridge, a 312 unit affordable rental community located in New Haven and Rolling Ridge Apartments, a 180 unit affordable apartment community located in the heart of West Haven.
The solar panel systems in the two states will generate almost a million kilowatt hours of clean renewable electricity annually. This electricity would otherwise have to be purchased directly from the utility companies.
“By installing solar energy at these locations, we are preserving the long term affordability of the developments, and also allowing residents to reduce their carbon footprint,” said WinnCompanies Director of Green Building Heather Clark.
As managers of 70,000 units of housing, most of which is affordable, Winn has a strong interest in developing and operating the properties as efficiently as possible. The solar installations are a small part of an aggressive greening effort put in place by WinnCompanies. Other efforts have included the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating sytem for New Construction and energy retrofits in existing buildings including air sealing and insulation, lighting improvements, and water efficiency.
Green Regs Drafted for State Buildings
Hartford, Conn., Jan. 25 - According to an article in The Day, Governor Rell's staff has drafted new green regulations for the construction and renovation of state-owned buildings and public schools.
The proposed regulations are designed to reduce energy consumption and costs and enhance a growing work force of “green collar” jobs, according to Adam Liegeot, a spokesman in the governor's office.
The green building standards, part of recently approved broad-based energy legislation, would apply to new construction of $5 million or more and renovations of $2 million or more, Gov. M. Jodi Rell said in a prepared statement.
”We are building a cleaner, greener future for all of Connecticut,” Rell stated.
”These strict standards will lead to a new generation of energy efficient 'green' buildings, and ultimately reduce our carbon footprint on the environment. Our children, grandchildren and generations beyond will benefit from the stewardship that we commit to today,” she added.
Some of the requirements in the proposed rules include:
■ Designing buildings to be 21 percent more energy efficient than current state building code;
■ Using low-flow fixtures to consume 20 percent less water;
■ Installing appliances that comply with Energy Star standards;
■ Using indoor adhesives and paints low in volatile organic compound emissions.
The regulations were written in accordance with the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Now that the proposed regulations are completed, they will be forwarded to the state Office of Policy & Management, which will submit them to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's office for review, Liegeot said. Final approval of the regulations must come from the Legislature's Regulations and Review Committee.
Interview With Alteris Leadership
Wilton, Conn., Jan. 25 - The leaders of Alteris Renewables, Inc. predict strong growth in the the solar industry in the future according to an article last week in the Wilton Villager. It was one of the first public statements from the Wilton-based company since it was formed this past October by a merger of Rhode Island based Solar Works, Inc. and SolarWrights, Inc. of Stonington.
Ron French, Alteris' president stated in the article, "It's just the fact that you had to believe, number one, climate change was a real issue, and number two, the United States uses so much energy."
The company name is a combination of "alt" as in alternative energy and "teris," like the latin word terra, which means earth.
"It's probably the biggest industry in the world," said chief operating officer Tim Seamans of energy production, which for Alteris means solar electric (photovoltaic), solar thermal and wind energy solutions. "We created a name that was beyond solar."
Seamans is the former chief financial officer of Solar Works, Inc., and Robert Chew, former president of SolarWrights, is now Alteris' president of residential business with a headquarters in Bristol, R.I.
The officials said as more people realize the benefits of solar systems -- reduced electric bills, no emissions, energy independence, an increased home value and energy leadership, to name a few -- more are signing on.
"There's nothing in a solar panel that's expensive -- it's not made of diamonds or gold," said French. "The same thing will happen to solar as with a Mac -- the first one was $5,000 and it did nothing."
But solar panels have already proven they are capable of producing results, even if they lack prevalence: A 193.6 kilowatt solar energy system installed by SolarWorks at R.C. Bigelow will avoid about 5,020,809 pounds of carbon dioxide during 25 years.
Read the complete article at www.wiltonvillager.com
OPEL Supplies HCPV Panels to Spanish Project
Shelton, Conn., Jan. 19 — OPEL International, a developer of high concentration photovoltaic and other solar products, has announced that it has begun supplying OPEL’s HCPV panels to build a utility grade solar power plant of 440 kilowatt (kW) in Spain under an agreement with BETASOL.
When completed, the grid is expected to supply cost effective and energy efficient power to over 500 households. BETASOL is a Spanish company located in a prime area of Spain for solar deployments. Its business is building utility grade solar farm installations and their subsequent sale to investor groups.
The shipment of OPEL’s panels for the installation began in December, and the project is planned for completion in the first quarter of 2009.
“This deployment of 440 kW of HCPV panels is one of the first significant installations in the HCPV marketplace and is an important milestone for OPEL,” said Robert Pico, CEO of OPEL International. “We are excited about our new and expanding relationship with our partner, BETASOL, and look forward to reporting on our progress with this leading solar technology in the near future.”
The Shelton, CT based OPEL is supplying this project with its original design Mk-I high concentration panels (HCPVs) to be mounted on a tracker system. These panels are a highly cost effective solution and complement the recently-announced changes in Spain’s feed-in tariff structure. The deployment of OPEL’s energy efficient panels is expected to result in a favorable operating return for the project.
CT Gets $2 Million Energy Job Training Grant
Washington, D.C., Jan. 19 - The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded nearly $123 million to 68 community colleges and community-based institutions that competed successfully under the President's Community-Based Job Training Grants Initiative. Awardees were chosen from among 274 applications received in response to a competition announced Oct. 10, 2008.
Connecticut's take is just over $2 million and will be used to fund programs that will help develop the next generation of energy workers attending any community technical college in the Nutmeg state.
"The $123 million awarded today will expand enrollment in education and training programs, and provide more workers with the skills they need to succeed," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.
Introduced by President Bush in his 2004 "State of the Union" address, Community-Based Job Training Grants improve the ability of community colleges to provide their regions' workers with the skills needed to enter growing industries. The first round of 70 competitive awards was revealed on Oct. 19, 2005. The second round of 72 awards was made on Dec. 11, 2006. Sixty-nine awards from among third round competitors were announced on March 11, 2008.
In slightly more than three years, approximately $497 million now has been awarded to 279 community colleges and community-based institutions in 49 states to promote the U.S. workforce's full potential. Through the first three rounds of these grants, more than 34,000 individuals have completed their education and training, and nearly 85,000 people have participated.
Clean Energy Communities Program Wins National Award
Rocky Hill, Conn., Jan. 19 - The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) today captured the national spotlight when its Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program won the State Leadership in Clean Energy Award. The award, presented at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., was one of five given out by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), a national nonprofit organization that works with clean energy funds and state agencies to advance markets for clean energy technologies.
CESA established the State Leadership in Clean Energy Awards to recognize state programs that are most effectively accelerating adoption of clean energy technologies and advancing clean energy markets.
Commenting on the Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program, Mark Sinclair, CESA executive director, said, “This creative Connecticut program has not only inspired communities and individuals to commit to purchase clean energy; it has also increased the number of visible solar installations in the state and has improved public understanding of renewable energy technologies.”
In recent years, some of the most innovative and effective activities to advance clean energy have taken place at the state level. By implementing creative finance, policy and market initiatives, the states have been serving as laboratories where ideas for implementing clean energy can be tested in the real world. In many cases, the states have established special funds to promote renewable energy and other clean energy technologies.
During the fall of 2008, state funds and agencies from across the country nominated programs for State Leadership in Clean Energy Awards. A team of seven distinguished judges then selected five winners from all of the award nominations. The winning entries exemplify the ground-breaking work being done by the states.
The Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program, which was developed and funded by the CCEF, uses creative marketing, multi-sector collaboration and grassroots action to build a large voluntary market for clean energy in Connecticut. The program rewards communities with solar photovoltaic systems when (1) a city or town commits to obtain 20% of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2010, (2) its citizens sign up for clean energy through the CTCleanEnergyOptionsSM program, and (3) a city or town purchases clean energy. Because of the program, 88 communities (more than half of the state’s 169 cities and towns) have committed to obtain 20% clean electricity by 2010 and many of the more than 21,000 electricity customers have voluntarily chosen to pay a premium on their electricity bills for clean electricity. To date, towns have earned collectively a total of 190 kilowatts of solar photovoltaic systems.
Source: CT Clean Energy Fund
Siemon Extends "Green" Operations Initiative
Watertown, Conn., Jan. 12 — As part of Siemon Company 's on-going environmental stewardship initiative, the company has launched an aggressive solar energy program at its Watertown, CT Corporate Headquarters and North American Manufacturing Campus. Construction is well underway on a 217KW, 15,600 square-foot solar power system at Siemon's Dynamic Manufacturing Facility. When completed, this clean and renewable energy system will reduce this power hungry operation's dependence on non-renewable energy sources.
Supported in part by a grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, Siemon's solar installation will provide a yearly greenhouse gas reduction of 159 metric tons - equivalent to the yearly output of 30 automobiles, or 18,000 gallons of gasoline. The energy generated would be sufficient to power up to 21 homes.
"Implementing a solar energy system is just one step in balancing ongoing business needs with Siemon's ongoing environmental commitment: One has to approach green efforts like CO2 reductions from as many angles as possible. When we combine solar with Siemon's other efforts like more efficient power usage, increased recycling levels and forest land preservation activities, our carbon footprint really starts to shrink," commented Rajesh Kumar, Country Manager, The Siemon Company. By implementing these efforts in phases, Siemon was able to make huge environmental strides without disrupting core business activities and in fact, most green programs offered opportunities to reduce operational costs.
This dual benefit is central to Siemon's environmental stewardship initiative. The company wants this installation to be an example for other manufacturers. The company wishes to prove that renewable energy is not just smart environmental policy, but smart business.
Firm Turns Hazardous Waste Into Energy
Wilton, Conn., Jan. 12 - According to an article in the Stamford Advocate, one of Poland's largest chemical factories plans to take advantage of technology developed by a Wilton-based Startech Environmental Corp., a waste-to-energy company.
The company was recently notified by waste2greenergy Ltd. (w2ge), Startech's distributor for the United Kingdom and Poland, that w2ge's Polish subsidiary Silesia Sp z o.o. has entered into a contract with Zaklady Azotowe Kedzierzyn SA (ZAK) to buy Startech's plasma converter.
The system, which will fit into a 4,000-square-foot building, will be designed to burn 10 tons of hazardous wastes a day to produce a gas composed mostly of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, said Startech President Joseph Longo.
ZAK will use the hydrogen to create sufficient electricity for the plant and additional energy for the power grid, and use the carbon monoxide to produce alcohol, one of its products, he said.
"ZAK saves money and eliminates its liability by processing its own waste, and then converting those wastes into valuable commodities," he said. "It makes money on the front end and also on the back end."
Emcor CEO Discusses Stimulus and Green Tax Credits
Chicago, IL, Jan. 12 - Frank MacInnis, Chief Executive of Norwalk based Emcor Group Inc., a leading construction and engineering firm told Reuters in a telephone interview last week that the proposed economic stimulus package of President-elect Barack Obama should focus more on the private sector and provide tax credits for the green retrofitting of buildings.
"The stimulus package will provide a significant boost for the construction industry," MacInnis told Reuters in a telephone interview. "But it cannot be successfully implemented if the money is just given to governments at all levels."
"I would strongly advocate tax reductions and tax credits for the retrofitting of private-sector buildings for energy efficiency," he added.
Obama has called for the retrofitting of buildings in the United States to lower costs and reduce America's dependence on other countries for fuel.
"If the stimulus includes tax credits then I am sure we will see immediate benefits," MacInnis said. "It would be much easier to persuade private-sector customers to invest in retrofitting if their investment paid off in two to three years instead of four to five years."
He said that Emcor products such as variable speed motors for air conditioning systems or modern electrical systems to provide lighting could be used to retrofit private-sector buildings.
Read the rest of the interview at Reuters
New State Green Building Code Becomes Law
Hartford, Conn., Jan. 5 — As of January 1, 2009, Connecticut become the second state after California to have a green building law in place. The law, adopted in 2007, requires that all privately financed construction with projected costs exceeding $5 million meet standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, or LEED. Renovations above $2 million will be similarly affected after Jan. 1, 2010. Residential projects with four or fewer units are exempt.
The law will certainly increase the number of green buildings in Connecticut but is now getting push back from some in the commercial construction industry who find it vague in some areas and also question the issue of that the LEED certification process is lengthy and may extend past the project’s completion. In a recent article published in the New York Times, Nick Everett, a senior vice president at the A.P. Construction Company in Stamford, which is building a public library to LEED standards in Darien stated, “If you follow the implication of that,” Mr. Everett said, “you wouldn’t be able to occupy the building until you got that certification. That’s kind of goofy.”
California took a more comprehensive approach to the issue by developing its own green building standards code after a fierce tug of war between construction and environmental groups. Adopted last July, the code is voluntary until 2010.
New Leadership at UTC Power
Hartford, Conn., Jan. 5 - United Technologies has announced that J. Michael McQuade, senior vice president for science and technology, has taken over the duties of president of UTC Power, the company's fuel cell division. McQuade succeeds Jan van Dokkum, who will stay on to advise the company during the first quarter of 2009, a UTC spokesman said. It had not been decided whether McQuade or anyone else will assume the title of president.
McQuade, 53, will immediately oversee a major realignment of UTC Power, which remains primarily a research operation, generating little revenue or profits by UTC standards. UTC does not disclose the South Windsor-based division's financial results.
In the realignment, disclosed to employees Dec. 15, UTC will shift some work from UTC Power to other divisions, including Pratt & Whitney, Hamilton Sundstrand and Carrier Corp., spokesman John Moran said Friday.
McQuade joined UTC in 2006, after working for 3M and Eastman Kodak. He has a doctorate in physics from Carnegie Mellon University.
Source: Hartford Courant
Hartford Gets New Solar Powered Parking Meters
Hartford, Conn., Jan. 5 - The Hartford Parking Authority of Hartford has completed installing 250 solar-powered new "pay-and-display" parking meters in downtown Hartford. The $13,000-a-unit kiosks will replace over 1500 traditional coin-fed meters.
The new meters accept coins as well as credit cards, and the minimum purchase is 25 cents, up from 5 cents. The kiosk prints a receipt that the driver places on the car’s dashboard. Drivers with time left on the receipt have the option of transferring the remaining minutes to another area that also has the new meters.
The meters are made by New Jersey-based Parkeon Inc., which has more than 8,000 meters placed worldwide, including in Chicago, Denver, New Orleans and New York.
Source: Hartford Business Journal