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Harnessing the sun and wind for coffee and canines

By Loren Penman

 Last year on, you may have read about Dick Gammell of Canadice Construction Corp. and his efforts to make his construction company more cost effective, more independent, and more environmentally friendly by developing a wind/ solar generator that powers hand tools and small pieces of equipment at work sites.  His idea has gotten lots of press in the past 12 months, including news stories on Binghamton, Buffalo and Rochester TV stations, an article in the “Industry News” section of The Rhode Island Builders Report, a front page story in The Journal of Light Construction -- in all, 11 pieces.  You even can see the generator in action on YouTube! 

Now Dick has some new ventures (that you may hear about first right here).

On Saturday, June 6th, western New York’s original off-grid cafe opened in Springwater.  Theresa’s Sunshine Cafe is located at 8148 South Main Street, across from the fire hall, and is open Tuesday - Friday, 6:00 AM - 2:00 PM and for breakfast only on the week-end (closed Monday).  Every part of the Sunshine Cafe is electrified solely by the sun and the wind!  While customers enjoy a solar cup of coffee, they can recharge their electric vehicles!  (see photo)


Canadice Construction also is playing a unique role in this year’s Rochester Homerama which opens Saturday, July 11th at Somerset Hill in Victor.  Eight members of the Rochester Homebuilders’ Association, including Dick, will exhibit their “barkitecture” -- stylish and creative doghouses which will be auctioned off to benefit Lollypop Farm.  Dick’s contribution, called The Big Green Dog House, is a fully insulated doggie condo and short-term, back-up green power generator all in one!  Built with power tools electrified completely from the sun and wind, The Big Green Dog House is constructed with recycled lumber and has an outdoor outlet for human convenience.  Of course, it has excellent curb appeal!  (see photo)

Dick Gammell and Canadice Construction continue to demonstrate innovation and efficiency in energy consumption.  To learn more, head to the company website:

Karen Miconi

How awesome, this is what will potentially save our earth, with use of clean energy. My husband and I want to look into windmill energy, when we build our home. I believe their might be incentives offered to help when building green. I just love the dog house! What a good thing these people are doing.

Jul 10, 2009, 9:54am Permalink
Mai Knaym

I agree with both Karen and Peter. There isn't much we can do to reverse the hundreds of years of damage that we have caused to our earth and atmosphere - BUT we can at least try to help and make our utilities cheaper.

If more and more people jump on the bandwagon of green energy (solar, wind, and water), our other utilities may just become reduced in cost because the companies providing our "on the grid" utilities will be losing money. I don't know if that would really happen, though... but a girl can dream, can't she? LOL!

Nevertheless, definitely a 4-star article! :)

Jul 10, 2009, 10:39am Permalink
Loren Penman

Check out the original article about Dick Gammell's construction site power shed. At the moment, it's on page 175 of -- or just type "Canadice Construction" into the search box in the top right corner of this site. The piece is called, "Did You See That?"

Jul 10, 2009, 11:25am Permalink
Peter O'Brien

Nuclear is green as well but is always left off the list. If you are switching to new technologies to save money that's terrific. If your motive is to save a planet from a falsehood then you are diluting yourself and that's where I have a big problem with this whole thing.

I don't believe human have caused any lasting damage to this planet. Pollution sucks but is easily cleaned and that's completely different. It can be argued that there are more forests now than in earths history because humans are here to fight naturally occurring forest fires. We also burn brush purposefully to prevent forest fires. People are smarter than the environazis (not not all who care for the earth fall under this dubious category) give them credit for. As a society we know better than to harm ourselves.

Jul 10, 2009, 11:27am Permalink
Bea McManis

Posted by Peter O'Brien on July 10, 2009 - 11:27am
If your motive is to save a planet from a falsehood then you are diluting yourself and that's where I have a big problem with this whole thing.

Let's hope that she is diluting herself with pristine water while she is deluding herself into believing that we are not here only to take from the earth but to be stewards for future generations. If that makes us nazis than so be it.

Jul 10, 2009, 11:32am Permalink
Peter O'Brien

Keep twisting my words... I called no specific person a nazi and even said....well you can read can't you?

And excuse me for not knowing one word in the english language. It sounds the exact same when spoken. The language is filled with too many crap things like that. Wind blows and you can Wind up a toy. I ate bleu cheese off a blue plate while the wind blew.

Jul 10, 2009, 11:43am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

I've become much more mindful of conservation/environmental issues since moving to New York, and especially since getting into fishing a bit.

At a minimum, a balanced, healthy environment is important to the quality of a human life -- we need places that aren't all paved order or polluted and depleted.

Many of the measures promoted to combat global warming are just sensible conservation measures. Of course, some of the proposal are excessive and not justifiable on economic (part of a balanced existence) for what is at best dubious science.

You've heard the old phrase: Think Globally, Act Locally. I prefer, Think Locally AND Act Locally. This makes more a more sustainable local community as well as a more sustainable earth. I won't inventory all the ways these ideas tie together now, but just to say I'm mindful of the idea that localism and conservation are mutually beneficial concepts.

As for nuclear, Peter, the only thing that concerns me is waht to do with the waste?

Jul 10, 2009, 11:46am Permalink
Peter O'Brien

Yucca Mountain has already been designated as the dumping site. People are worried about ground water contamination but its in the middle of the desert. They are worried about transporting it but we have containers designed to withstand full on impacts from speeding trains and survive and type of fire from that collision.

Three Mile Island resulted in a leak. By the best estimates it was equivalent to a chest x-ray. Chernobyl was a deteriorating plant in a crumbling country.

Today's nuclear power plants are at least 30 years old. They are safe and reliable. Imagine what can be done with the technological gains we've made since the 70's.

Jul 10, 2009, 12:02pm Permalink
Karen Miconi

God has givin us life, and a beautiful earth to enjoy. I will always do what I can to take care of her. And Yes Peter, the earth has a fever. You have a right to your opinion, as do I. There is such a thing as Global Warming. I believe it, and always will, and will continue to support the earth, no matter what people say. It is my duty as a human, and a privilage.

Jul 10, 2009, 1:18pm Permalink
Peter O'Brien

Karen the earth has been cooling since the 90's and it was hotter in the 30's. Humans haven't been able to accurately read global temperatures for most of their existence let alone the earth's. Global Warming models don't take into account Water Vapor which is the single most significant factor in determining the greenhouse effect.

Jul 10, 2009, 1:23pm Permalink
Karen Miconi

I know Peter, I just believe there is a problem with the earth, its over population, and resources being depleted, at a faster rate then ever before. Im concerned for the generations ahead. I worry what the earth will be like 100's of years from now, for my children, and my childrens, children. My husband builds Hydrogen Fuel Cells, that potentially will run engines with salt water. Its so important to me, to harness wind energy, and find ways to cut emissions through clean power. I just say "why not try". What do we have to loose?

Jul 10, 2009, 1:42pm Permalink
Tyler Hall

I don't think global warming is something you choose to believe in or not. It's not like the statement, 'I believe the Yankees will win a world series or not'. I don't think any of us should talk about it unless we have doctorates in climatology. It would almost be like a school nurse believing in a cure for cancer.

Jul 10, 2009, 1:54pm Permalink
Karen Miconi

I just think its more serious than a Yankees game. This is the place that sustains life "the Earth". I wont take it for granted, nor will I stop trying to make it better. This is just my opinion, and God knows I am just a tiny partical on the earth. I have also seen the pics of the hole in the ozone, years ago, and now. Eventually the earth will fry from lack of protection from the sun. There is proof of these things, we just need to spend more time looking into them.

Jul 10, 2009, 2:05pm Permalink

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