Monday, October 18, 2010

Solar Schools


From installing solar panels to purchasing clean energy, area schools are joining in on the effort to step up Philadelphia’s green status.

The Albert M. Greenfield School, located in Center City, recently became the first public school in Philadelphia to install a solar energy system on its roof. Greenfield’s roof hosts 26 solar panels, creating a system capable of producing an estimated 6,400 kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy each year. The solar system is just one phase of the “Greening Greenfield” sustainability program that the school is in the process of implementing.

Area universities are also embracing renewable energy. Drexel University recently announced a commitment to purchase enough wind power credits to account for 100 percent of the power consumed by the school. Drexel’s purchase makes the university one of the 50 largest purchasers of wind power in the nation.

And if that’s not enough, St. Joseph’s University was recently awarded a $1 million research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to study switch grass and green roofs. St. Joe’s researchers will study how switch grass, a potential biofuel source, is affected by climate change. Their green roof study will evaluate stormwater retention, cooling ability, and other measures of effectiveness for green roofs in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

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