Panels on Fountain

I won’t get into my whole diatribe about how much it disturbs me that the powers that be decided not to install geothermal heating and cooling at the new prototypes on Fountain and Pine, but it looks like the prototypes are more energy-efficient than they appear. Introducing the first woodframe-mounted solar panels on campus, courtesy The Wesleyan Connection:


The page also notes that “Each solar panel generates 225 watts. Combined, they will create enough energy to support one of the units in the triplex.” Also, the whole house is EnergyStar certified, so perhaps Wes is more sustainability-savvy than it looks. Though if anyone from the construction department is reading this: seriously, guys, the all-white siding just isn’t doing it for me.

I think they were looking at installing solar panels on the power plant stacks and the roof of the admissions office; does anyone from EON (Alex?) know what the status if this is?

(Photo by Intisar Abioto ’09)

38 thoughts on “Panels on Fountain

  1. Anonymous

    There’s a certain segment of the student population that reflexively finds fault in almost every decision made by “the powers that be.” It’s some extreme cynicism with an unhealthy dose of paranoia.

  2. Anonymous

    There’s a certain segment of the student population that reflexively finds fault in almost every decision made by “the powers that be.” It’s some extreme cynicism with an unhealthy dose of paranoia.

  3. Anonymous

    Are people serious about some of these post!The fact that the school took the first step in the RIGHT DIRECTION is a good thing. Some people just love to complain, those people are useless. We have a major energy problem in this country when colleges students are not forward thinkers.I am for one excited to see these up and I can’t wait until they put up more.When you want to talk facts on how Solar Panels are the key to true clean renewable energy let me know.Otherwise go to Alaska and you can start Chanting with Sarah Palin on DRILL BABY DRILL!

  4. Anonymous

    Are people serious about some of these post!

    The fact that the school took the first step in the RIGHT DIRECTION is a good thing.

    Some people just love to complain, those people are useless.

    We have a major energy problem in this country when colleges students are not forward thinkers.

    I am for one excited to see these up and I can’t wait until they put up more.

    When you want to talk facts on how Solar Panels are the key to true clean renewable energy let me know.

    Otherwise go to Alaska and you can start Chanting with Sarah Palin on DRILL BABY DRILL!

  5. Anonymous

    Maybe we should celebrate taking more steps like this instead of complaining about the color of the siding. How shallow and spoiled does that sound? Seriously.Since there seems to be a very basic, almost juvenile lack of knowledge of how PV systems work, here are some facts:1. When there are people in the unit, they will be using some of the electricity produced by the panels during the day. Some. A small portion of it, actually. The rest will go out to the grid and sold to the utility company. At night when you are watching TV, you will be using electricity from the grid, which ends up being offset by your excess produced during the day. Having the house vacant during the summer is factored into the statement that the panels “will create enough energy to support one of the units in the triplex.” These systems are engineered based on yearly averages.2. I’m counting enough panels up there to average enough electricity over the course of a year to run almost that whole house (not just one unit), if people were to live energy efficient lifestyles. The university can do all they can to make the house Energy Star certified, but if people leave the lights and TVs on all the time when they are not in use, those efforts are nullified.3. Solar panels don’t require direct sunlight to produce electricity. They produce electricity on cloudy days. They produce electricity in rainstorms (albeit less). They produce electricity if you turn them upside down, put them on the ground and cover them with a tarp. As long as they are facing due solar south and avoid as much shading as possible at all times of the year, a PV system is always a good investment. There are amazing state incentives for these projects as well as a newly improved federal tax credit that was passed as part of the recent economic stimulus package.Will the ROI be longer than the 4 years we are here? Yes. But so what? If you know anything about climate change or care one inkling about solving the problem, it takes decisions (and supporting decisions) like putting solar panels on that house.

  6. Anonymous

    Maybe we should celebrate taking more steps like this instead of complaining about the color of the siding. How shallow and spoiled does that sound? Seriously.

    Since there seems to be a very basic, almost juvenile lack of knowledge of how PV systems work, here are some facts:

    1. When there are people in the unit, they will be using some of the electricity produced by the panels during the day. Some. A small portion of it, actually. The rest will go out to the grid and sold to the utility company. At night when you are watching TV, you will be using electricity from the grid, which ends up being offset by your excess produced during the day. Having the house vacant during the summer is factored into the statement that the panels “will create enough energy to support one of the units in the triplex.” These systems are engineered based on yearly averages.

    2. I’m counting enough panels up there to average enough electricity over the course of a year to run almost that whole house (not just one unit), if people were to live energy efficient lifestyles. The university can do all they can to make the house Energy Star certified, but if people leave the lights and TVs on all the time when they are not in use, those efforts are nullified.

    3. Solar panels don’t require direct sunlight to produce electricity. They produce electricity on cloudy days. They produce electricity in rainstorms (albeit less). They produce electricity if you turn them upside down, put them on the ground and cover them with a tarp. As long as they are facing due solar south and avoid as much shading as possible at all times of the year, a PV system is always a good investment. There are amazing state incentives for these projects as well as a newly improved federal tax credit that was passed as part of the recent economic stimulus package.

    Will the ROI be longer than the 4 years we are here? Yes. But so what? If you know anything about climate change or care one inkling about solving the problem, it takes decisions (and supporting decisions) like putting solar panels on that house.

  7. Anonymous

    i’d also like to add that if you have comments about sustainability at wes, people in physical plant want to hear them! email sustainability@wesleyan.edu with your comments about prototypes, solar panels, the new cogen plant, lights that are left on, the need for more bike racks, etc.-alex (also a sustainability intern)

  8. Anonymous

    i’d also like to add that if you have comments about sustainability at wes, people in physical plant want to hear them! email sustainability@wesleyan.edu with your comments about prototypes, solar panels, the new cogen plant, lights that are left on, the need for more bike racks, etc.

    -alex (also a sustainability intern)

  9. Anonymous

    We aren’t using geothermal on the new houses because it actually cost us more money to heat the prototypes that have geothermal than the ones without. Geothermal is most efficient at cooling, especially in a cold climate, and no one uses the building over the summer. That’s why they decided not to install it in the new prototypes. The cogen plant on Williams St. only supplies enough “free heat” for about a third of the dorms on campus. None of the senior houses are connected to the power plant on Williams St. It does not have to be sunny all the time to obtain power from solar panels. In fact, overcast is fine. Germany is the leading user of solar energy and they rarely see the sun in the winter. All that being said, Middletown is a really sunny place compared to many. This is not an issue to worry about. Also, the electricity produced from the solar panel would go into the larger grid–it would not just be used for the house, and there are people on campus during the summer.The proposal for the solar panels on top of Freeman is in the process of being approved. The admissions building idea is being tossed around but it would essentially only be for PR because it would be too small to deliver a significant amount of energy.-sustainability intern for physical plant

  10. Anonymous

    We aren’t using geothermal on the new houses because it actually cost us more money to heat the prototypes that have geothermal than the ones without. Geothermal is most efficient at cooling, especially in a cold climate, and no one uses the building over the summer. That’s why they decided not to install it in the new prototypes.

    The cogen plant on Williams St. only supplies enough “free heat” for about a third of the dorms on campus. None of the senior houses are connected to the power plant on Williams St.

    It does not have to be sunny all the time to obtain power from solar panels. In fact, overcast is fine. Germany is the leading user of solar energy and they rarely see the sun in the winter. All that being said, Middletown is a really sunny place compared to many. This is not an issue to worry about.

    Also, the electricity produced from the solar panel would go into the larger grid–it would not just be used for the house, and there are people on campus during the summer.

    The proposal for the solar panels on top of Freeman is in the process of being approved. The admissions building idea is being tossed around but it would essentially only be for PR because it would be too small to deliver a significant amount of energy.

    -sustainability intern for physical plant

  11. Anonymous

    i increasingly suspect that comments are left by administrators trying to skew student perception.-skeptical of these arguments

  12. Anonymous

    i increasingly suspect that comments are left by administrators trying to skew student perception.

    -skeptical of these arguments

  13. Anonymous

    remember people, the more money Wes spends on being environmentally friendly, the less money it has to spend on financial aid… especially with the shitty financial market. Wes will be green when it’s economically feasible, but will put YOU (aka financial aid) before that. just remember that.

  14. Anonymous

    remember people, the more money Wes spends on being environmentally friendly, the less money it has to spend on financial aid… especially with the shitty financial market. Wes will be green when it’s economically feasible, but will put YOU (aka financial aid) before that. just remember that.

  15. Anonymous

    The fact that they would put solar panels on Admissions makes it pretty clear it’s only a PR thing.Also, geothermal is great, but if the woodframes are getting their heat from the co-generation plant (on the corner of High and William), they are already getting virtually free heat.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogeneration)

  16. Anonymous

    The fact that they would put solar panels on Admissions makes it pretty clear it’s only a PR thing.

    Also, geothermal is great, but if the woodframes are getting their heat from the co-generation plant (on the corner of High and William), they are already getting virtually free heat.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogeneration)

  17. Anonymous

    The white siding reflects solar heat gain and thereby reduces cooling loads, even though it may not be the prettiest.A clear view of the roof is necessary for the solar energy to reach it. You wouldn’t want to put solar panels on a roof tucked away somewhere behind trees.Geothermal in general makes more sense for larger projects (like dorms). But each site and project is unique. Geothermal is not cheap to install and can be expensive to maintain. A standard furnace can be serviced by any HVAC contractor in Middletown, whereas the nearest geothermal contractor may be in Boston. Also, parts take longer to receive and cost more.Construction projects always must strike a balance of initial cost and lifetime cost, whether they be undertaken by an institution like Wesleyan or a homeowner.With Wesleyan, energy savings = money that can go toward financial aid.

  18. Anonymous

    The white siding reflects solar heat gain and thereby reduces cooling loads, even though it may not be the prettiest.

    A clear view of the roof is necessary for the solar energy to reach it. You wouldn’t want to put solar panels on a roof tucked away somewhere behind trees.

    Geothermal in general makes more sense for larger projects (like dorms). But each site and project is unique. Geothermal is not cheap to install and can be expensive to maintain. A standard furnace can be serviced by any HVAC contractor in Middletown, whereas the nearest geothermal contractor may be in Boston. Also, parts take longer to receive and cost more.

    Construction projects always must strike a balance of initial cost and lifetime cost, whether they be undertaken by an institution like Wesleyan or a homeowner.

    With Wesleyan, energy savings = money that can go toward financial aid.

  19. Anonymous

    This house is on the tour route, and the panels are visible from outside the fitness-center. That’s why the university did it, to impress eager pre-frosh and their parents.

  20. Anonymous

    This house is on the tour route, and the panels are visible from outside the fitness-center. That’s why the university did it, to impress eager pre-frosh and their parents.

  21. Anonymous

    How the fuck is this a wise investment? We’re in Middletown, CT. It is cloudy as hell here… and no one’s going to be in the house over the summer. This isn’t going to make a positive ROI for YEARS.

  22. Anonymous

    How the fuck is this a wise investment? We’re in Middletown, CT. It is cloudy as hell here… and no one’s going to be in the house over the summer.

    This isn’t going to make a positive ROI for YEARS.

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