Music to my ears: School goes solar, with help from local dealer

Husband and wife in Florida collaborate on solar retrofit of music school.

(Updated post Oct. 27 to correct kilowatt hours reference.)

Talk about a working demo project and smart co-branding. To demonstrate that it IS possible for smaller companies to invest in renewable energy technology that won't necessarily require a massive retrofit, solar dealer John Eriksen of JDL Builders in Stuart, Fla., is using his wife Cindy Kessler's music school as a live demonstration project.

The 50-year old building housing the Stuart School of Music (the link is for the system's real-time monitoring dashboard), which contains eight studios, features a 5 kilowatt thin-film photovoltaic solar system laminated onto a new standing seam metal roof. The solar film laminate from Uni-Solar is about as thick as a credit card, and the product is approved for application in the Miami-Dade county.

The school has set up a kiosk that explains how the roof works, so that parents and the roughly 300 students are exposed to its benefits. (The site referenced above provides estimates of offsets that the solar system has enabled, including barrels of oil, carbon dioxide emissions and lightbulbs.)

During the first month of production, the solar system has produced an average of 21 kilowatt hours of power per day. The Stuart School also has embraced a number of other green business practices including an investment in low-E windows (which provide insulation properties), LED lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures and paints that are free of volatile organic compounds.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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