Thursday, 05 November 2009 12:57

Going Green with Renewable Energy Products

A photo of our building back in late 70's!

In 2002, I decided to renovate our 25 year old, Fafco Solar building in Cape Coral...

In doing so, I tried to use as many green products and practices as I could afford...

Problem #1: I didn’t know anything about green building.
Problem #2: I didn’t know anyone else who did.

So, I had to go to Sarasota to find someone who had some knowledge and experience with green building.

Unfortunately, after his one visit to my shop, he never called back and I could never get him to return my calls. So, I was forced to search for another builder.

Eventually, I decided to use a local builder.

One I was familiar with, even though he had no knowledge or experience in green building. I had known him and his wife for many years. They both knew my father and on occasion he played cards with him. They also knew my son. They had a good reputation and I liked them.

So, I educated myself a little and told my builder what I wanted in the building. He thought some of my green ideas were strange but he did as I requested. When all was done, I was happy with my decision.

Unknowingly, my decision to renovate my existing building, rather than move and build somewhere else, was my first green decision.

By far, the most visible and impressive green aspect of the building is the 21 solar lights (tubular skylights) installed throughout the building. They allow the employees to work in natural daylight almost all day long without using any electricity... and they love it.

It also is a great demonstration of a product we offer.

People who visit are usually quite surprised when we tell them there’s no electric lights on. Stop in and take a look for yourself when you’re in the neighborhood!

All interior walls were painted with no VOC paint. (That stands for volatile organic compounds.) It wasn’t hard to find...even in 2002. We just had to ask for it.

We sprayed foam under the roof and into the block walls of the air conditioned portion of the building. During construction, it was noticeably cooler under the foamed portion of the roof.

We reused lumber from the deconstruction of the old shop in the new offices.

We installed a tankless water heater to eliminate stand-by losses since we hardly ever use hot water.

We also installed a dual flush toilet, a water cooled air conditionerlow E windowstile floors (except in two offices) and ceiling tiles made with partially recycled content.

On the outside, we planted native plants.

After moving into our newly renovated offices, we started improving our personal green habits, too. We, now, recycle almost all our paper, plastic, aluminum, glass and copper items.

Ultimately, my goal is to use zero fossil fuel within ten years. That would be a wonderful achievement! There’s still more to do, but we’re well on our way!

If YOU are interested in doing the same, contact me and we’ll make a plan to do it!

Energy independence is definitely possible!

For more information on green building, check out these links:

Have fun 'going green with renewable energy products', I sure did!

- Dan

Friday, 23 October 2009 11:09

The Most Common Question About Solar Energy

The most common question about solar energy deserves the right answer...

If you’ve ever asked yourself --

“Why isn’t there more solar energy used in Florida?” 

you’re not alone!

In the 35 years I’ve worked in the solar industry here in Florida, that’s the most common question I hear.

The question is often followed with some version of: “I guess it’s just still too expensive.”

It’s a good question, but the right answer requires you to dig a little deeper. So, instead of just agreeing and letting you off the hook, I’m inclined to reply: “YOU know why.”

Then, I wait and let you think a little while I nod my head and look directly at you with narrowed eyes and a slight smile. When I see you start to fog up, I continue, “It’s because the utilities and the politicians don’t want you to use solar energy.”

Oh, you say. It’s pretty obvious and no one ever disagrees.

Within the last couple months, though, we're fortunate enough to have some help from the top, and I'm excited!

You know in your heart we should be using the beautiful gift the sun gives freely to all. It defies logic and common sense that Florida ignores its natural beauty.

The frustration is always audible. Solar energy is so obviously good and right.

Here are a couple organizations trying to help the people get their fair share of solar energy:


Florida is the Sunshine State, after all, right?!

Friday, 02 October 2009 10:29

Are you in love with solar energy?

Are you in love with your energy source?

A strange question, isn’t it?

Strange because:
a)    more than likely, you don’t know where your energy comes from, and
b)    even if you did know, what’s love got to do with it?

What I mean is, do you feel good about where your energy comes from?

I know you like the energy you use. That’s not the question. Electricity and gasoline have given many people around the world a wonderful life. Both are taken for granted. You use them without having to think much about it. Plugging in your cell phone or laptop is about the most effort you have to do. Filling up at the convenience store is all it takes to go anywhere you want to go. But these conveniences have a source… and a price… that is not often considered… which I won’t get in to here.

Do you know where your energy comes from?

Do you know where your electricity and gas come from?

And, assuming you do know, are you in love with your energy source?

After 35 years in the solar industry, I know I am in love with the sun.

When you get connected to the sun, in a real way, something fundamental changes in your head… or is it your heart?

You satisfy an unconscious desire to be at one. It’s an alignment… or perhaps an atonement.

At its core, solar energy is in alignment with all life.
And because of that, solar energy is an energy source that can be loved.

Solar energy has incredible universal appeal!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009 08:59

The Attributes of Solar Energy

You probably get the concept of solar energy -- the idea of creating energy from the sun..
Nonetheless, here's the attributes of solar energy:
•    An endless supply… the sun will continue to shine for millions of years
•    A reliable supply… the output of the sun is predictable
•    A secure supply… the sun cannot be a target
•    A safe supply… the sun does not cause pollution
•    A healthy supply… sunshine is essential for good health
•    A free supply… sunshine is delivered to your house free of charge (and fast)
•    Promotes energy independence… both national and personal
•    Promotes energy democracy… ownership for many people (not just a few)
•    Promotes a healthy economy…
•    Promotes enjoyment… you like its beauty, its warmth and all it provides
•    Promotes biodiversity… sustainable behavior in harmony with nature
•    Promotes community… a world that works well… we’re ALL in this together
•    Promotes life… all life depends on the solar energy

At its core, solar energy is in alignment with all you love -- and because of that, solar energy is an energy source you love.

Just a few thoughts for the day...

- Dan

For more information, here are some good books:

Friday, 11 September 2009 15:08

Solar Energy - Plugging into the Sun

This phot is of photovoltaic panels in Spain... and WOW, it's a really good one!

Today, I discovered this excellent article by National Geographic called "Plugging into the Sun"...

It explains how sunlight provides us with much more energy than we'd ever need - and slowly we're starting to tap into it!

It also reviews the two main ways to harness the energy as well:

    1. produce steam,
    2. convert to electricity with photovoltaic (PV) panels (be sure to check out our PV solutions on our web site to learn more!

Be sure to check out the article, and the related link: Ranking the Renewables (the photo gallery is great too!)

Very cool stuff!

-Dan

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