Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today watched as City employees completed the first of five solar hot water panel installations atop City Firehouse Truck 34, located in the City's North Side neighborhood.
"Our sustainability initiatives are focused on reducing our environmental impact, while at the same time saving money and improving services to citizens," said Ravenstahl. "This project is a great example of how you can meet all three goals at the same time, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, saving money on energy costs, and improving a building that provides essential public safety services to our taxpayers."
Yesterday, City employees including electricians, plumbers, steamfitters, foremen and supervisors participated in a half-day classroom training on solar panel installation, led by Chuck Marken of Sandia National Laboratories.
Today, those employees translated that training into hands-on experience installing four 4x10 solar hot water panels on the southern facing side of the firehouse roof. These panels will harness the sun's energy to produce hot water for the kitchen, bathroom, and showers in this house, eliminating the need to use natural gas for this purpose.
The solar energy equipment will be supplied by Vox Energy Solutions, LLC out of Allison Park, PA. Vox Energy was one of three companies that bid on the request for proposals for the equipment.
"Vox Energy Solutions is honored to be involved with the first solar thermal installation for the City of Pittsburgh," said Rich Foltz, president Vox Energy Solutions. "This project is one more step to assert the City's commitment to promote their environmental and energy efficiency goals."
The City spends roughly $5,500 per year on natural gas for this facility. Through this installation, it will save approximately 15 20 percent of its costs. The installation will also reduce the City's carbon footprint, save taxpayer dollars, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. In addition, the 'green-collar' skills City employees will learn will allow the growth of the City's clean energy economy and further Pittsburgh's story of environmental transformation.
The City will follow this first installation with five additional solar thermal installations in 2010. Working with Carnegie Mellon University, the Mayor's Office of Sustainability and Energy Efficiency is currently assessing City-owned buildings to determine the location of future installations.
On Oct. 15 16, the City, with assistance provided by the Department of Energy, will host a two-day conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, targeting cities with colder climates, with the goal of advancing the integration of solar technology in the northeastern U.S.
Invitations were issued to 125 municipal employees in more than 20 northeastern U.S. cities, including New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Hartford, Buffalo and Cleveland. Also registered to attend the Northeastern Solar Cities Conference are municipal leaders from throughout Allegheny County.
Conference attendees will learn how to replicate Pittsburgh's solar program through seminars geared towards Planning and Zoning, Solar Access Laws, Solar Financing, and Inspection, as well as gain a basic understanding of solar thermal and photovoltaics. Representatives from the DOE, Sandia National Laboratories, PA Department of Environmental Protection and the International Renewable Energy Council will be presenting.
Vox Energy Solutions is a full service alternative energy provider. They install and maintain, photovoltaic, solar thermal and wind turbines systems.
Solar America Cities is a partnership between the DOE and a select group of cities across the country that have committed to accelerating the adoption of solar energy technologies at the local level. The 25 cities selected received a combined $5 million in Department of Energy funding in addition to substantial hands-on technical assistance, provided by Sandia National Laboratories, over a two-year period. Sandia National Laboratories is a government-owned, contractor operated facility that manages energy initiatives for DOE.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
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Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2626 | facsimile: 412-255-2687