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renewable energy

July 3, 2010 - 1:20pm

Digital signs are nothing new for area schools -- but Robert Morris Elementary, at 80 Union St. in Batavia, is the first school in the Genesee Valley to have a solar-powered digital sign, which was unveiled last month.

The new 3x8 sign, which shares important information with the school community, is fully powered by the sun's energy, collected and converted into electricity by solar panels on the school's roof.

This environmentally friendly and money-saving technology allows the sign to store energy and stay powered up even at night and in overcast weather. 

The sign is part of Robert Morris' "Going Green" project, which is being coordinated by the all-volunteer parent group FORM (Friends of Robert Morris).

The "green" project, in turn, is part of the school's committment to educating students and keeping them informed about renewable energy and environmentally responsible technology.

As the current school year drew to a close, Principal Diane Bonarigo went to each of the classrooms and explained the new solar sign to students -- including how it would turn the sun's energy into electricity, etc.

"Our students are very excited about learning how solar energy is powering this sign," Bonarigo said in a news release. "(It) will engage (them) for years to come."

FORM co-chair Roseann Quinn said that they would like to focus more intensely on "green" education in September. She mentioned the possibility of having professionals come in and speak to the kids about different renewable energy technologies, as well as basic education in the classrooms.

"Now with the solar sign, the kids have something they can see and touch (to go along with lessons)," Quinn said.

Quinn also said that FORM and Bonarigo would like to put the students in charge of the sign when the next school year starts. Right now, Bonarigo controls what words appear on the sign from her laptop computer; in September, they hope to give the kids more input into the way words appear and change.

At Robert Morris, going green also involves lots of landscape planting on school grounds. Here are some pictures of new trees and bushes that have been put in already: 

June 15, 2010 - 10:47pm
posted by Jeff Allen in green energy, President Obama, renewable energy, Blogs.

We have heard President Obama's address to the nation on the Gulf Coast oil spill.  As expected, there were more calls for "comprehensive energy reform", "green energy", and "renewable energy".  These have been mantras of the Administration since day one.  I too would like to see a reduction in Americas dependence on foreign oil, but a major move to get off fossil fuels completely has been a hot political button for some time.  The left will claim right wing loyalties to "big oil" or "corporate interests" and the right will point out the absurdities of "envrionmental whackos".

Although I have never been a hardcore science buff and Einsteins E=mc2 has always eluded me,  I came across this article that explains the theory in a way that I found remarkably understandable.  It also explains why the obstacles of renewable energy are not political but physical.  It is not a particularly long read, but it is a fascinating one:

www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm

Reading the article begs the question...Unless President Obama can change the laws of physics or embrace nuclear energy with more enthusiasm, just how does he expect to implement broad, realistic, and impactful renewable energy policies?

August 27, 2009 - 2:00pm

mail-1.jpegMembers of Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma (DKG), a Genesee County society for women educators, met this summer for a personal/ professional growth activity at the historic Adams Basin Inn (between Brockport and Spencerport).

Innkeepers David and Pat Haines served lunch in the tavern dining room, then graciously allowed the ladies to tour their nearly 200-year-old home which they operate as a bed and breakfast.  David, a former teacher, gave a witty and fascinating history of the structure that was built along the Erie Canal as a bar and general store; in fact, the Adams Basin Inn has the only known original bar-room left in existence along the 363-mile-long waterway.   Meticulously restored and updated, the Adams Basin Inn is a frequent stop for bicyclists along the Canal towpath.

Blended into the charm of the old is the efficiency of the new:  the Inn is using the latest in solar technology with 18 state-of-the-art solar modules and a power inverter.  The system is capable of producing over 4,000 kilowatts of electric per year and will produce clean, solar generated power over its 30-year projected lifecycle.  This renewable energy system will offset approximately 40% of the Inn's electrical needs -- and its environmentally friendly!

In the photo, DKG members enjoy perusing artifacts during Mr. Haines' informative talk.

March 11, 2009 - 1:39pm

Doug Hollinger, a science teacher at Pavilion Central School has a fascination with renewable energy that has inspired him to share his special talents with those less fortunate in South Asia.

Hollinger takes four students with him each year to build independent solar panels and educate others on the importance of renewable energy.  Currently this is all volunteer work and Hollinger is hoping it will be a non-for-profit organization.

Hollinger is not just talking about it, he is going out and applying it.

"This is an eye-opening experience," said Hollinger, "It is a great way to apply alternative energy in a completely different side of the world."

To get more information on this project check out his Web site

March 11, 2009 - 12:20pm
posted by Tasia Boland in schools, pavillion, renewable energy.

Today it is common to hear about the negative results due to the economic downturn, but what about some of the positive results making its way through to improve the economy?

Doug Hollinger, science teacher at Pavilion Central School  has spent the past three years researching, calling, and making final decisions for a wind turbine incentive at the school.
Last August a 120-foot tall wind turbine was installed behind the school to accompany the solar panel located on the school’s roof. In late November the turbine was producing electricity.
“It’s really exciting,” said Hollinger, who wrote the turbine curriculum for the elementary, middle and high school. The curriculum involved math, economics, and social aspects of renewable energy.

A lot of time was spent deciding which turbine and program would best fit the school.
“I researched a lot of different turbines and felt this one (Bergy Wind power) was the strongest,” said Hollinger.  

The turbine generates about 2-4 percent of electricity and was installed by Sustainable Energy Systems (SED). It is a 10kw wind turbine manufactured by Bergy Windpower.   The turbine hasn’t needed any routine maintenance yet, said Hollinger, but Bergy would be responsible for the costs. 
In 2002 a solar panel was installed and has been a great hands-on learning experience for students.


Hollinger and Superintendent of the Pavilion School District, Edward Orman agreed the project was not for the primary purpose of generating electricity.

“This is a great educational opportunity for students, and the community,” said Orman.
The school received an incentive through NYSERDA to cover 70 percent of the cost of the wind turbine. The actual cost of the turbine was in the $70,000 range.
Hollinger has partnered with Draker Laboratories to bring the facts of  renewable energy directly into the classroom.  Hollinger says it is so important to be committed to the students and continue to meet the challenges of our future.
“We have to look at other ways of producing energy,” said Hollinger, “And not just study this out of books.” Hollinger said climate change is just one of the many reasons why this is so important.
The best part of the turbine is the educational opportunities it offers.  Data Aquistion unit is a program that will allow students to view the rpm of voltage, propellers, current, power, wind speed and direction, and barometric pressure on the classroom computers from sensors on the wind turbine. This information can also be viewed by the public.
Hollinger said this is the most frustrating part of waiting for the program to go through because it is an important learning tool for students.
 “I am hoping in a couple weeks, we will have the program,” said Hollinger.
Hollinger said students make graphs to show how the weather affects performance.
There was a town support meeting on the subject and Hollinger said he expected to hear both positive and negative remarks.
“I went into the meeting thinking it would generate arguments,” said Hollinger who was surprised to find out everyone was all in favor of the idea.”

Hollinger and Orman said the process was very long because they were the first public school in New York to have a wind turbine installed.
Orman and Hollinger agreed it is something to be very proud of.

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