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Short Takes Spring 2010 : River Valley edition : Tuesday, 25 February 2020 01:57 EST : a service of The Public Press
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Short Takes Spring 2010

     by Stephen Morris

Get a Grip, Homeowners.

(Submitted by Ron Della Penna, a frequent Green Living contributor from Pennsylvania)

EAST FALLOWFIELD --- A township resident is angry that the homeowners' association where he lives won't allow him to erect solar panels on the roof of his home.quiet zone

Bob Caffro lives on North Anchor Way in the Brook Crossing subdivision. He wanted to put low-profile black solar panels on his rear south-facing roof.

"To my dismay my HOA has declined by request to go solar," Caffro wrote in an e-mail to the Daily Local News.
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The panels would violate one of the restrictive covenants of the development that calls for any "addition, enclosure, garage, fence, planting or other improvement or modification erected, placed or maintained within a unit shall be harmonious in design with the single family dwelling unit."

Caffro said that the board members of the HOA advised him that an attorney had reviewed the HOA's bylaws and had concluded that "solar panels are not harmonious."

(Next they won’t let you hang laundry to dry.)


First Zero Net Energy Building

Putney School Fieldhouse


The Putney School, a college prep boarding school, has been quietly completing work on a $6.7 million Field House project that will be Vermont’s first net-zero energy building. The Field House, which will produce as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis, will get most of its power from the sun—using passive solar for heating and solar photovoltaic trackers for electricity. During the winter months, the building will likely draw some power from the grid; in milder weather, the solar PV system will allow the building to feed excess energy back into the grid (thanks to net metering)—giving the school the opportunity to make money from its new building.


Building Green Announces Top Ten

BuildingGreen, LLC, publisher of the GreenSpec® Directory and Environmental Building NewsTM, has announced the 2009 Top-10 Green Building Products. This eighth annual award, announced at the U.S. Green Building Council's Greenbuild Conference in Phoenix, recognizes the most exciting products drawn from recent additions to the GreenSpec directory and coverage in Environmental Building News.

"Our selections of the Top-10 Green Building Products represent a wide range of product types in many different application areas," noted BuildingGreen founder and executive editor Alex Wilson. This year's list is particularly diverse, ranging from a recycled-content concrete block, to a flywheel energy storage system for data centers, a mobile solar generator for job-site power, and an advanced modular classroom for schools.

Energy-saving products among the Top-10 include a line of mineral wool insulation, an integrated rain-screen/insulation wall cladding for commercial buildings, a heat-pump water heater, an energy control system for lighting in commercial buildings. A structural matrix system, Silva Cell, provides a support system for urban tree roots, helping trees survive in largely impervious environments and helping to manage stormwater runoff."

One of the nation's most innovative furniture makers, Baltix, is being recognized for new products that incorporate a variety of biobased, FSC-certified, and recycled-content materials. "Many of the Top-10 products this year have multiple environmental attributes," said Wilson.

The 2009 Top-10 Green Building Products are listed below. Complete descriptions and contact information are provided on BuildingGreen.com:

  1. Pozzotive Plus CMUs and Concrete Brick from Kingston Block
  2. Thermafiber Mineral Wool Insulation Products
  3. Invelope Integrated Wall Insulation and Rainscreen System
  4. Baltix Recycled- and Biobased-Content Office Furniture
  5. Project FROG Modular Green Classroom
  6. Rheem HP-50 Heat-Pump Water Heater
  7. Convia Energy-Management Infrastructure
  8. Pentadyne GTX Flywheel Energy Storage
  9. Silva Cell Subsurface Tree Protection and Stormwater System
  10. Mobile Solar Power Generator


New Degree: Climate Masters at Bard

In the private, non-profit and public sectors, there is fast growing demand for workers with both strong climate science training, and the skills to design and implement policy solutions. The Bard Center for Environmental Policy, in partnership with the Cary Institute, now offers a new degree program to help close this gap.

The Bard Center for Environmental Policy is offering a new MS Degree in Climate Science and Policy, beginning Fall 2010. This new degree will help to provide the trained workforce critical for businesses, non-profit organizations, and governments at all levels as they face the increasing challenges posed by climate change. The program hopes to be able to offer six very generous NSF fellowships to support students entering this program in the Fall of 2010, 2011, and 2012. These Fellowships will provide 100% tuition support plus a $15,000 stipend for living expenses during the first year of study. Details of these awards will be finalized in March.

For a complete course description go to bard.edu/cep.


Dispose of those Compact Fluorescents Safely

Compact florescent light bulbs have always generated energy savings, but they have had drawbacks, too. Now Earthmate offers bulbs in a full-spectrum option with the usual array of sizes from candelabra to dimmable and flood, but also the standard Earthmate 15w, 20w, and 23w spiral bulbs contain only 1 mg of mercury - 80% less than standard efficiency light bulbs. The company has also published an online dealer locater at earthmatelighting.com so you know where to dispose of them. Compact florescent bulbs should always be recycled at a participating local retailer due to their mercury content, however small. (This tip provided by Erich Kruger of ReNew Salvage in Brattleboro.)

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