Posts Tagged With: Solar power

Green Building May 14th Luncheon: The Role of Real Time Data in Energy Savings

Building owners are always looking for creative ways to reduce their energy consumption. The first step in an energy reduction strategy is an Energy Audit. This first step is very effective at determining the most cost effective strategies for saving energy in a building, but there are drawbacks. The Audit provides an excellent snapshot of the buildings operations, but not the full picture of variations throughout the year. Also, savings calculations for ECMs are based on assumptions for inputs such as runtimes, temperature setpoints, and use of override schedules. If these assumptions are not accurate, the savings may be underpredicted, or overpredicted. To achieve the maximum energy savings with the most accurate calculations, it would be essential to survey the building over all seasons, with accurate data for all energy consuming systems, using “Continuous Auditing”.

With Continuous Auditing, an auditor performs an initial building assessment and gathers data relating to all energy consuming systems. Then, the Owner installs a comprehensive Real Time Monitoring (RTM) system. This data is fed to a dashboard in real time, where the auditor can analyze trend data continuously over the year, and look for spikes and anomalies indicating energy waste. The auditor works with the facilities operators to mitigate energy waste and reduce energy consumption based on observations from the data. The net result is a building operating at its peak efficiency, over the course of all seasons.

Speaker:

Eric Oliver, P.E., CEM, LEED AP, Director, Energy Solutions

Eric Oliver is the Director of Energy Solutions at 2RW Consultants. A passionate energy conservationist, Eric Oliver started his career with the federal government in EPA’s Energy Star Buildings Program. Prior to joining 2RW in 2018, Eric founded EMO Energy Solutions in 1998 to address the growing need for energy efficiency services and ran the Company for 20 years. With EMO, Eric was among the earliest practitioners of the LEED program, providing energy modeling, commissioning, and LEED consulting services in addition to energy auditing capabilities. Mr. Oliver has conducted several dozen energy-training seminars, created energy awareness and education campaigns, and presented and moderated at several energy conferences.

Mr. Oliver holds a Master’s degree in Building Technology and a Bachelor of Architecture from MIT. A licensed professional engineer in Virginia and Maryland, he is a former President of the National Capitol Chapter and national Secretary of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), has served on the Board of Directors of the National Capitol Region Chapter of the US Green Buildings Council (USGBC-NCR), and is a former Board Chairman of the Virginia Sustainable Building Network (VSBN).

This course will be approved for 1 GBCI LEED Specific and AIA CE

Fee: $10 for members and $20 for nonmembers.

Lunch will be served, Register Here

Our meeting space is generously donated by the City of Charlottesville.

DATE AND TIME
Tue, May 14th, 2019: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT
LOCATION
City Space, 100 5th Street NE, Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Categories: Announcements, Education, Energy Efficiency, Technology | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Building April 9th Luncheon: Regeneration through Design and Collective Action

This presentation will feature core projects at a variety of scales that highlight how communities have worked collectively to increase their environmental resilience and economic prosperity, regenerate landscapes through ecological design, and to create an innovative local home. The presenters will highlight their work at multiple scales with public and private clients where they have developed consensus, engaged in design and developed ecological design plans for urban, rural and community sites that foster increased self-reliance, resilience, beauty and regeneration.

Speakers:

Christine Gyovai is the Principal of Dialogue + Design Associates, a small, woman-owned business based in Charlottesville, Virginia founded in 2005. Dialogue + Design is a multi-disciplinary, public-interest design firm that focuses on helping citizens, localities and organizations build a stronger future through collaboration, architecture, environmental design and community planning. She holds certificates in charrette systems, mediation and permaculture design, with a focus on increasing community resilience and environmental sustainability. She is a member of the National Roster of Environmental Dispute Resolution and Consensus Building Professionals. Ms. Gyovai consults and lectures regionally about permaculture with the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network. She holds a M.U.E.P. in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia and a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Burlington College. She lives at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband and two young children. Additional information about Dialogue + Design is available at our website: www.dialogueanddesign.com

Reed Muehlman is a registered Architect and environmental designer based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Mr. Muehlman is a LEED Accredited Professional, and holds certification from the National Charrette Institute, and in permaculture design and urbanism. He has over twelve years of experience working in the architecture field, and has consulted on several diverse project types including academic master plans, residential visioning and permaculture design, and dairy design. He holds Masters degrees in Architecture and Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia, and Bachelor’s degrees in Art and Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. Mr. Muehlman designed the passive solar straw bale house he and his wife live in with their two children near Charlottesville, Virginia.

This course will be approved for 1 GBCI LEED Specific and AIA CE

Fee: $10 for members and $20 for nonmembers.

Lunch will be served, Register Here

Our meeting space is generously donated by the City of Charlottesville.

DATE AND TIME
Tue, April 9, 2019: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT
LOCATION
City Space, 100 5th Street NE, Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Categories: Announcements, Design, Education, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Building March 12th Luncheon: Electrify Everything – the Why and the How, from a Residential Perspective

Electrify Everything! Electrification of equipment and devices that currently run on fossil fuels, and then powering those new electrical devices with renewable or zero-carbon electricity, is one of the pillars of de-carbonization, according to most climate and energy policy experts. However, the need for electrification is poorly understood by the general public, most lawmakers, as well as most building design + construction practitioners. John Semmelhack will dive into the details of the why and the how of electrification with a focus on residential buildings (space heating, water heating and cooking), and will examine the implications for residential building electrification for Virginians and our electrical grids.

Speaker:

John is the owner of Think Little, a home performance consulting firm based in Charlottesville, Virginia, specializing in building enclosure and mechanical system design for single-family and multi-family Passive House and net-zero energy homes in the mid-Atlantic.

Since 2007, Think Little has provided consulting, testing and inspection services for over 3,000 multi-family and single-family housing units, including several firsts – the first certified Passive House residence in Virginia as well as some of the first EarthCraft certified net-zero homes.

John is a certified Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rater and an EarthCraft Technical Advisor. John is also a CPHC® (Certified Passive House Consultant), is a member of the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) Technical Committee, and is a PHIUS Trainer for the CPHC (Certified Passive House Consultant) training program.

This course will be approved for 1 GBCI LEED Specific and AIA CE

Fee: $10 for members and $20 for nonmembers.

Lunch will be served, Register Here

Our meeting space is generously donated by the City of Charlottesville.

DATE AND TIME
Tue, March 12, 2019: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT
LOCATION
City Space, 100 5th Street NE, Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Categories: Announcements, Design, Education, Energy Efficiency, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Building December 12th Luncheon: Unstoppable: The Transition to Renewable Energy

Today, building owners and designers are looking to minimize the energy and carbon footprint of new and existing buildings. LEED V4 and the Architecture 2030 Challenge are pushing the industry beyond energy efficiency features into on-site renewable energy generation. Join Taylor Brown and Devin Welch from Sun Tribe Solar, a Charlottesville-based solar energy company, as they discuss renewable trends and design best practices. Come learn more about solar photovoltaics, battery storage options, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) from leaders in the field.

Taylor Brown co-founded Sun Tribe Solar to increase solar PV’s market share on the east coast and is now operating as the Technical Director. Before launching Sun Tribe, Brown worked for Siemens Energy North America. For the first five years with Siemens, Brown was a field project manager performing modernizations and upgrades on steam turbine generators ranging from 150 MW to 920 MW throughout the United States. Brown holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech.

Devin Welch, co-founder, is also responsible for market strategy at Sun Tribe Solar. Passionate about sustainability, Welch has spent his career championing free market principles as a means to achieve positive change across a broad range of environmental issues, with a focus on finding and capitalizing upon the critical intersections of sustainable best practices and corporate self-interest. At Sun Tribe, Welch continues his work on market transformation by engaging with individuals, businesses, and governments to reimagine the way energy is produced while realizing tangible benefits for all stakeholders. As a member of the leadership team, he has helped Sun Tribe to become one of the fastest growing solar companies in Virginia. Welch is a published author and holds a B.S. in Management from Virginia Tech.

When:
December 12, noon to 1:00pm (lunch provided)

Register for Lunch Here!

Where: 
City Space
100 5th Street, NE, Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, VA

Categories: Announcements, Resilience, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rayton Solar Panels

If you have been thinking about adding solar panels to power your home but have been priced out, that may all change soon. This startup called Rayton is claiming to have built a solar panel with 25% greater efficiency and 60% less expense. If they succeed, it is a game changer for alternative energy!

20141215113334-Flexible_Solar

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Underground Greenhouses

Earth Sheltered Greenhouses use the fact that the earth is a stable temperature all year round to greatly extend the growing season. These were known to native people as walipini or “place of warmth”

http://www.inspirationgreen.com/pit-greenhouses.html

There are so many different types of greenhouses and clever adaptations that books upon books have been written on the subject. Has anyone seen really clever designs in action?

pitgreenhouse

Categories: Architecture, Energy Efficiency, Gardening | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Site Solar Shading Survey App How-to Guide

The first thing you need to do before building any sort of solar-powered project is to figure out how much sun the site receives. Trees, mountains and houses can all block solar energy from reaching whatever you have collecting it. In the olden days you would go out to the site armed with a compass, protractor, cardboard, string and a washer and plot out the obstructions on paper. Now we have some slick apps for android phones and tablets to help us. Here’s a guide for making a Solar Site Survey Chart using apps for android with a little post processing on a computer.

1. Use the Solar Shading app to make a new project and trace the solid horizon. Follow the directions for the app; there is no need to repeat them here.  Make sure that the program knows your position or things will be thrown off. It is important to trace just the mountains and other solid things that aren’t going anywhere because you certainly can’t change those. Use the share icon in the app to export the pdf of the report; it is useful as it is, but we’ll do more with it later.

dbh

2. Use the Solar Shading app to make another new project and trace the “green” horizon. This time, trace the outer edge of all the trees and any other objects that aren’t completely solid. Use the share icon in the app to export the pdf of the report; again, it is useful as it is, but we’ll do more with it later.

dbs

3. Download all of the reports from your phone to a computer.

4. Download a clean solar chart online for the survey location from http://solardat.uoregon.edu/SunChartProgram.html

Sun Chart - Charlottesville

5. Use Photoshop, GIMP, or another image editor that allows the use of layers to superimpose and line up the solar chart made in step 4 over the chart that the app made in step 1. On a new layer use the paintbrush and masks to make a clean horizon on the chart. Hide the chart from step 1.

SS - Powerline Trail-horizon

6. Now bring the solar chart that the app made in step 2 under the chart built-in step 6 just like you did in step 5. On a new layer use the paintbrush and masks to make a clean “green” horizon on the chart. Hide the chart from step 2. Put some text to let everyone know where in the world the survey was taken and you’re done.

SS - Powerline Trailsummer

7. Doing the survey with the less expensive augmented reality apps SunPlan and Sun Surveyor is a similar process, but is more labor intensive. Use the app to take augmented reality screenshots to create a panorama on a computer later. I like to turn on the winter and summer solstice sun paths in the app because it gives a nice reference point when using them later. It’s a good idea to take a panorama even if you used the Solar Shading app to make the solar chart because it shows what the obstructions are. They are the most valuable together.

SunSurveyor_2014_02_07_111537 copySunSurveyor_2014_02_07_111550 copy SunSurveyor_2014_02_07_111607 copy SunSurveyor_2014_02_07_111618 copy SunSurveyor_2014_02_07_111630 copy SunSurveyor_2014_02_07_111640 copy

8. Turn the images into a panorama using a panorama maker program like Microsoft ICE. The augmented reality pieces confuse these programs pretty badly, so it’s not going to be flawless. Let me know if you find a way to get a cleaner panorama!

SunSurveyor_2014_02_07_stitch

9. Download a clean solar chart online for the survey location from http://solardat.uoregon.edu/SunChartProgram.html

10. Open Photoshop, GIMP, or another image editor that allows the use of layers to open the chart made in step 9 side by side to the panorama made in step 8. On a new layer use the paintbrush and masks to make a clean horizon on the chart from step 9 using the panorama as a reference. On a new layer use the paintbrush and masks to make a clean “green” horizon on the same chart using the panorama as a reference. Put some text to let everyone know where in the world the survey was taken and you’re done.

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Site Solar Shading Survey Apps

The first thing you need to do before building any sort of solar-powered project is to figure out how much sun the site receives. Trees, mountains and houses can all block solar energy from reaching whatever you have collecting it. In the olden days you would go out to the site armed with a compass, protractor, cardboard, string and a washer and plot out the obstructions on paper. I’ll let Builditsolar.com describe how to do that in detail: http://www.builditsolar.com/SiteSurvey/site_survey.htm

Here’s what an old-fashioned solar survey looks like:

survey

Thanks to google sky map, everyone now knows that smartphones and tablets have all the sensors that one would need to make one of these charts digitally, plus a camera. The burning question is which app works the best and how do you make a chart with this technology? We pitted a few against each other using the same android smart phone hardware and here are the results. There is also a guide for creating this chart using some of the apps mentioned below.

1. Solar Shading: For the purpose of making a site solar survey chart, Solar Shading is by far the most capable app for android, which makes sense because it is the only one specifically designed to make this chart. The interface is a bit harder to get used to than the other apps, but it is by far the most powerful. You trace the obstructions to the sun either using the crosshairs with the camera or looking down the edge of the phone/tablet. Once you’ve completed tracing the horizon for a complete circle, the app generates the solar chart as well as two graphs showing the solar power generated and the penalty that the obstructions are causing during each month of the year. This app is easily the fastest way to accomplish the task and provides great looking reports, so it can be done at several locations on a site to find the optimal location on a site for a solar collector or a passive solar house. The only downside is the $16 price tag.

2014-01-24-13-49-562014-01-24-13-47-09

2014-01-24-13-47-51 2014-01-24-13-48-33

 2. Sun Surveyor: This is an “augmented reality” application that displays sun paths and/or moon paths on the camera preview. This is the smoothest, most polished, and most feature rich of this type of app that was tested. The 3D compass, compass calibrator, and map view are nice additions to your smartphone toolkit. The augmented reality view shows any sun or moon path that you would like to display, as well as degree grid lines, which are very helpful in building a solar chart back at a computer using the images captured with this application. These images can then be taken back to a computer and obstructions plotted onto a chart if needed. This is a nice companion to the Solar Shading app to have pictures for later reference that are geographically referenced. This app carries a $6.49 price tag.

2014-01-24-13-24-49  2014-01-24-13-23-53  2014-01-24-13-27-40

3. SunPlan: A little Less polished than Sun Surveyor, the augmented reality view works almost identical to it. Sunplan doesn’t have the 3D compass, Map view or moon information, but it has a shadow compass. At $3.99, it’s a little easier on the wallet if you don’t need the vast array of sun and moon data.

IMG_20140124_131137  2014-01-24-13-08-00

4. Helioserver: Works similar to the solar shading app, but the interface is confusing and not very polished. It probably does a lot of heavy lifting in the background, but only gives you an output of what direction to point solar panels; I wasn’t able to accurately come up with reference points from the output to plot the data onto a chart. I couldn’t figure it out, not to say it can’t be done.If it works for you, the $1.33 price tag is certainly the cheapest.

2014-01-24-13-18-28 landscape

Conclusion: After actually doing a few surveys with all of the software, I personally choose to use the Solar Shading app to do the heavy lifting. Its professional looking output can be imported directly into Photoshop and excel. It collects real data in a couple of minutes so that several locations can be investigated to find the optimal solar site location in a short amount of time. I also use Sun Surveyor and SunPlan to get a good panorama of the site for reference further down in design. They are both very similar, so use Google Play’s 15 minute refund policy to try them both out before you decide which one you prefer.

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Solar Panel Orientation

The more research you do into renewable resources, the more you realize that matching demand for power to the renewable supply is the trickiest part. According to this study, for people that are away at work in the middle of the day, it makes more sense to point solar panels south-west instead of directly south. Makes sense right? Well, yes and no. If you aren’t attached to the grid, or your power company doesn’t allow net-metering and you work all day then yes, this makes perfect sense, why not make the power when you’re using it. If you have net-metering from your power company, why not produce the most power and use the grid as your battery; then due south is still the way to go.

solar-panels-installation-roof-photo-0002.jpg.492x0_q85_crop-smart

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Solar Powered Portable Stove

The gosun stove is the best thought out simple solar food cooker I’ve seen! It looks like this is going to be a reality soon as they got 5 times the funding they were looking for to get it started. Campouts, tailgates, off the grid parties, third world countries and greenies everywhere will love this.

gostove

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