Tag Archives: alternative energy

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Cassidy Turley Completes 69,471 SF Lease for 1st United Door Technologies

Cassidy Turley announced it completed a lease for 69,471 square feet for 1st United Door Technologies, LLC at Geneva Industrial, 1016 W. Geneva Drive in Tempe. Senior Vice President Bruce Calfee and Vice President Josh Wyss, of Cassidy Turley’s Industrial Group, represented the Tenant while Executive Vice Presidents Steve Sayre and Pat Harlan represented the Landlord, CLPF Geneva Industrial, LP (Phoenix).
1st United Door Technologies is a Tempe, Arizona based garage door manufacturer. The company specializes in steel and wood doors for both commercial and residential use. Ownership is comprised of the former owners and senior management of Anozira Door Systems. Since 1982, 1st United Door Technologies has been serving Homebuilders across the Nation with unique and distinctive garage doors that enhance the beauty and value of the Builders homes. With over 150 years of door installation and manufacturing experience, the management team is known for providing innovative and quality products at very competitive prices. The new Geneva Industrial location is part of a company expansion.
Built in 1981, Geneva Industrial is a ±69,471 square-foot, industrial manufacturing building. The property is part of the South Tempe Industrial Corridor and is in close to the I-10 and US-60 Freeways. The building is currently 100 percent leased.

Solar Energy Arizona Western College,

Solar Energy Builds on Arizona Western College Campus

The current economic situation has spurred a lot of talk, advertisements and encouragement to buy local and use local to sustain our economy. The Guinness Book of World Records named Yuma, AZ the sunniest city on earth, so where better to utilize innovative solar energy technology on Yuma’s Arizona Western College campus?

The Project

The Arizona Western College in Yuma is in the process of installing solar panels to cover close to 100 percent of its daytime electricity needs and cut its costs, all of which are planned to happen by October 2011. However, this project is doing more than just generating solar energy; it is utilizing five new types of photovoltaic technology from six different companies.

Arizona Western College plans to use the solar panels to teach classes on solar technology, installation and environmental engineering. This three-year solar project, from vision to completion, was partially funded by APS and will be managed by Main Street Power for 30 years and after the contract expires, the equipment will become part of the college and continue producing energy, says Lori Stofft, the director of public relations and marketing at Arizona Western College.

It is unique to apply five different technologies to a single institution, but that is one of the projects innovative angles.

The five photovoltaic technologies and the companies behind them include:

(c)2011 Arizona Western College by Ernest Yates

1. CPV (concentrator photovoltaic) from SolFocus, including their dual-axis trackers and GreenVolts fully integrated system including two-axis trackers and inverter
2. Thin Film panels from Sharp Solar
3. Monocrystalline panels from Solar World
4. Poly Crystalline panels from Suntech
5. Single-axis trackers from O Solar

Another unique aspect of this project is that the building process is streamed live over the internet to allow the community and the solar technology companies to check in on the progress.

“A lot of our partners are in Northern California, Germany, Spain… we wanted those people to feel like they were connected to our campus and that they could check in seven days a week and find out what was going on,” Stofft says. “It’s a way to include our partners in the building process.

The ground breaking was in May 2011 and the “Flip the Switch” completion ceremony is slated for October 2011. Only six months were allotted to cover 23 acres of land with solar arrays. The tight deadline was set in order to meet APS’s guidelines for the funding.

The Educational Advantage

It would make more sense to use one solar technology instead of five if it was just about energy generation, but it’s not, Stofft says. It’s about allowing the companies to measure their technologies against one another in one of the harshest climates on earth. Another educational aspect of the project will be the incubation area and the demonstration garden.

“The demonstration garden will have nine different technologies that students and the public will have access to,” Stofft  says. “They can see how [the technologies] measure against each other and what measures against the five major arrays.”

The incubation area is based on rental, and for a fee, technology companies can rent a private and secure area for a small array where they can test their equipment against the solar arrays already in place. The estimated savings for Arizona Western College with the solar array in place will be $3.5 million in the first 10 years, $15.4 million in 20 years and a projected $40 million over 30 years, including incubation rental fees.

“It’s more than just saving our tax payers money; it can be a road map for other colleges around the country who want to educate their own students,” Stofft  says. “There are all sorts of certificate and training programs and we could be educating people who work in solar industry at all levels.”

Arizona Western College graduated their first solar installer class of 19 in spring 2011 and are in the process of embedding solar technology into new and existing programs, developing 2-year degrees that can be transferred to four-year institutions.

(c)2011 Arizona Western College by Ernest Yates

It seems as though everyone wins.

Arizona Western College saves money; the solar companies get to test and monitor their technology in a large scale setting; the students reap the benefits, and the community creates jobs. The only thing left is getting a White House representative, or the president himself to the “Flip the Switch” ceremony.

A Presidential Approval

“The goal is to attract national attention to the array,” Stofft  says. “I really feel this is about energy independence for our country.”

Arizona Western College sent a formal invitation to the White house, but there has been no response yet. They are keeping their fingers crossed, and if the White House plans to respond, it still has time.

“The students, faculty and community are so proud that this solar array is being installed,” Stofft  says. “And if we can get the White House to visit, that will just be the cherry on top.”

For more information about Arizona Western College’s solar panels and its progress, visit www.azwestern.edu.

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Videos

Watch: AWC Solar Array Presidential Invite

Watch: AWC Solar Array Groundbreaking May 2011

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Sustainability, Recycle on Earth Day 2011

Sustainability: Respect For Mother Earth On Earth Day

We all have choices; we can stay or go, engage or retreat. We can chose to join the growing number of individuals, companies, municipalities, state and federal government in the move to sustainability.

Choosing to “go green” is a life-long commitment. It is not easy as some try to make it. It is not for those who ask the question, “How much is it going to cost me.” Or, “How soon will I receive my return investment (ROI)?”

I compare it to the person who starts saving for his or her retirement or 401k at age 21, a forward thinker. What you do today, the rewards are not available immediately tomorrow. It is a step to secure a world of clean air, clean water supply and alternative energy for our children and our grandchildren.

The world has recognized the need to look for alternative energy. Our need to implement proper water usage, to reuse, recycle and divert materials from our land fills. We are in the process of retro-fitting existing buildings to be high performing. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has spearheaded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. All of these efforts are focused on helping the public realize that our natural resources do not have an endless supply.

We talk about “going green” and “sustainability” as if it were a new concept. It is not new, in the eyes of Native Americans; it is the true act of respect for Mother Earth. I was taught many values, by my Navajo grandmother, a very wise woman who was loved and respected by many.

One of the many lessons I was taught was focused on trust, respect and harmony. “Everything in moderation … you need to have balance in your life … Respect yourself, your family, your neighbors but most of all have respect for Mother Earth.” These words and sayings were very simple and full of common sense. They came at a very young and formative stage in my life.

My grandmother would say, “Fight for what you believe in.” That is what motivates me, to strive for a sustainable world.

Today’s move to sustainability brings back memories as a child when we discuss caring for Mother Earth through recycling, alternative energy, and reducing our carbon footprint. It is not quite like the lessons of my grandmother, a little more high tech.

As a child I returned an empty eight-ounce glass bottle of Coca Cola to our local corner market more than once. I was given three cents in return for the deposit. We were recycling then and did not think twice about it. The bottling companies would reuse that same bottle over and over.

Here is a small idea to consider next time you are out to lunch or at your favorite eatery. Pay close attention if you are brought a glass of water. A simple glass of water served without requesting it in a restaurant makes a huge impact. Did you know it takes three glasses of water for that one on your table? One to fill it, one to wash it and one to rinse. Imagine how much water we could save, divert or properly use, if this simple act was removed from our daily routine.

We are on the right track as far as recognizing the value of water here in the desert. The price of water currently is inexpensive. Large box stores, grocery stores and convenience stores sell water by the bottle and by the case. We purchase it as individuals and at work. But what were the plastic empties doing for Mother Earth?

Did we really recycle every plastic bottle? That is the life-long commitment to “Going Green.” We changed, we took a stand, we now use filtered water from the tap. We recycle every plastic bottle and  aluminum can. Sometimes you have to make a choice, take a stand, fight for what you believe in.

What motivates you? Do you recycle, do you car pool or take mass transit, do you turn off lights when you leave a room? Be aware of your surroundings. Simple acts of kindness go a long way when Mother Earth is involved.

Illustration of suburb with recycle logo

Sustainability Is Possible In The Suburbs. Really.

Is it possible to build a sustainable suburb? The answer depends largely upon your perspective.

Of course, sustainability is a word freely associated these days with eco-friendly building materials, alternative energy and “living off the grid,” and is usually used in conjunction with the concepts of urban living, light-rail and transportation-oriented development. However, some of the first sustainable buildings were lovingly referred to as “land ships,” and built far from cities.

The deserts of Taos, N.M., for example, still host these forward-thinking renegade buildings dating back to the late 1960s and 1970s, and were colorfully branded by many as “crazy hippy stuff.”  And certainly these buildings are a far cry from the buildings and locations we think of as locations of sustainable development today.

Arizona has long been associated with sprawl, and frankly it’s the reason why the sustainable movement has been slow to catch. However, with a struggling economy and real estate development virtually at a standstill, it’s important to think beyond our limited frame of reference. But the suburb? Can it really be sustainable?  Our twin love affair with privacy and the automobile has made the suburb far from a likely place to orchestrate sustainability. Places where garages line streets instead of trees and retail buildings have walls around them virtually imposing a drive instead of a walk. But there is a sustainable sun on the horizon.

Arizona State University’s Stardust Resource Center has created a Growing Sustainable Communities Initiative, and its strategies for growing sustainable communities in the Valley of the Sun include:

  • Promoting mixed land uses
  • A range of housing types
  • Thriving economies
  • Environmentally responsive design
  • Having a variety of transportation choices
  • Compact development
  • Making places safe
  • Promoting healthy living
  • Community engagement

 

I could write four pages about each of those points, but essentially they mean: building sustainably occurs block-by-block, street-by-street, house-by-house. It is an organic process and there is no cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, the standard of cookie cutter replication is what has created much of the challenges in every community built after 1950 in Arizona.

To be successful, it is imperative that we change our standard “square mile” approach to development, where commercial businesses exist only on the edges and residential homes on the interior and there is virtually no interplay between them. No parks, and no tree-lined streets. A better strategy is to develop on the quarter-mile, where neighborhoods have work and play uses and schools and shopping centers interact with residential neighborhoods through a network of paths and pedestrian/bike connections — just like the village concepts of the historic neighborhoods built prior to the 1950s. Ask any Midwesterner what they miss about home and I’ll bet they say their “neighborhoods.” There’s a reason why.

What the sustainable movement is advocating is greater creativity on the developer side and less regulation and restrictions on the government side. Scott Carlin, an associate professor of geography at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, makes an excellent case for a deeper theory of sustainability. He suggests we re-invigorate ties to cities and villages, by building new homes only where there are existing water and sewer lines, sidewalks, schools, businesses and the other infrastructure within a reasonably close radius. In other words, so we can get out of our cars and walk.

What about existing neighborhoods? Well, they can be re-imagined as sustainable by relaxing zoning code to allow for commercial uses consistent with vibrant neighborhoods and by resisting the status quo. It will also happen when residents advocate for and pursue the creation of public amenities like parks and pathways and tree-lined streets. Even the Urban Land Institute recognizes the opportunities suburbs represent because it’s where the biggest gains could be made. Still, it cautions that connecting the dots between suburban projects through effective sub-regional planning is essential.

It is possible for us to focus on more than buildings when we think of sustainability.  With a bit of imagination, and the commitment to integrate the principles of sustainability even on the outskirts of town, we can succeed. Surprisingly, in fact, we won’t be creating anything new. Because, it’s when we look to the past and incorporate the best of what it means to live in an American neighborhood we win. Sustainability is certainly a look to the future, but its reality and its secrets are grounded in our American past.

USA Energy Guide

Green News Roundup – Alternative Energy, USAEnergyGuide & More

I’m always on the lookout for developments in the local sustainability industry. USAEnergyGuide was started by three Arizona entrepreneurs passionate about the environment. Realizing that rebate and tax incentives are hard for consumers to navigate, they jumped at the opportunity to create a site that would be simple and user-friendly.

Originally only for Arizona residents, the site has recently expanded to include California and Texas with plans to add more states in the future. USAEnergyGuide is your free online source used to calculate rebates and savings that you can receive by switching to more sustainable forms of energy.

I had the pleasure of meeting with two of the company’s founders — Michael Barber, director of operations and Ken Bonham, director of business development — who took the time to answer a few questions I had about their company.

What led to the creation of USA Energy Guide?
One of our Founders was going through the process of researching how much it would cost to install solar panels on their home, how much they would save on a monthly and yearly basis and what the tax incentives and rebates were, but couldn’t find a site that answered all these questions. So, we sat down and mapped out how we could make this process easier for consumers.

What challenges did you encouter and how were these overcome?
Similar to many startups we had the classic chicken and egg scenario. In order for the company to be successful, we needed installers who matched our qualification criteria and qualified leads (consumers) who were interested in being contacted by these installers. We worked to introduce ourselves to every installer in the markets we served so they could understand how we could help them be successful and also focused on connecting to consumers via social media. Along the way, various local media outlets stumbled across our site and did stories on us. The press stories and word of mouth helped us overcome both these initial challenges.

What are the company’s full line of  services?
For consumers, we provide simple ways to understand how much money alternative energy would save them, what rebates and incentives are available in their geographic area and all associated rebates for the products they are interested in. For installers, we provide leads to consumers and business owners who are qualified and ready to purchase these products.

What is your favorite aspect of the industry/company?
Our favorite aspect of the sustainability and alternative energy industry is that it is rapidly expanding and changing every day. There are new advances in solar technology and energy efficiency regularly, and more and more consumers are trying to understand how they can minimize their impact on the environment. This makes every day different and pushes our team to understand how we can help both our customers — installers and consumers — reach their goals.

What kind of a role do you think sustainability plays in today’s Arizona economy?
Right now, the sustainability industry in Arizona is only in its infancy. As costs for alternative energy technology decrease and consumers’ interest in living a greener lifestyle increase, the industry has nowhere to go, but up. However (and this is big however), the industry’s Achilles heel is support from local, state and federal governments. Without broad based government support to spur continued growth, the industry could die a quick death.

What has been the company’s greatest achievement to date?
From the beginning our greatest achievement has been providing information to consumers they couldn’t easily find before. Along with this, it’s the stories we hear from people who have used our site, found qualified installers and are now enjoying solar panels or solar water heaters in their home.

What are your future plans for the company?
While we have been primarily focused on the solar and energy efficiency industries, the sustainability industry goes well beyond those two verticals. We have big plans to not only expand the site beyond those verticals, but become a community where visitors can find a wealth of information across a wide variety of sustainability topics, both on a national and local level.

www.usaenergyguide.com

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Solar Trees: Growing Green

We’ve all heard that money doesn’t grow on trees. Does it grow on solar trees?

One of the latest solar inventions, the Solar Tree, is digging its roots into the business world and residential communities. The idea of the solar tree first sprouted on the streets of Vienna. The concept was a little different, but the overall theme and name are the same.  In Europe, solar trees are used in place of streetlights. The artificial trees provide enough light throughout the night, even if the sun doesn’t shine for four days in a row.   These solar lights even look like trees with branches that hold 10 solar lamps. Designed by Ross Lovegrove, the solar trees saved the city 524,000 KWh of electricity and $96,800 in 2005.

 

Solar Trees: Growing GreenIn the United States, San Diego-based Envision Solar is spearheading this energy-efficient invention with its own Solar Tree. Envision CEO and architect Robert Noble, who wanted to give parking lots more purpose than just a place to keep your car, created its aesthetically pleasing design. With its Solar Tree system, Envision Solar is on a mission to turn parking lots across the country into gardens of alternative energy by “planting” scores of the devices. Each “tree” is topped with a 1,000-square-foot canopy that is covered in solar cells built by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Kyocera.

This system of “planting” several Solar Trees is called a Solar Grove. The Solar Groves work best on large parking lots, and they not only use the sun as a way to produce energy, they also shade cars, displace unwanted run-off, and even have a place to plug in electric vehicles. According to Envision Solar’s Web site “a Solar Grove can pay for itself in as little as five years, and create positive cash flows from the first day of operation by avoiding the cost of existing electricity bills.”

The prices of these “power plants” vary by size, installation, site conditions and a company’s energy usage. Envision Solar will work with a company to create a financial analysis and see what’s right for the business. Also, many states offer incentives for using solar energy. These can be found at www.dsireusa.org.

Solar Trees: Growing GreenOne of Envision Solar’s better-known Solar Grove projects can be found at one of the nations “greenest” college campuses, the University of California at San Diego. Each tree generates more than 17,000 hours of clean energy per year and eliminates 13.2 metric tons of carbon emissions.

Various other kinds of solar trees can be seen all across the U.S. and are not solely produced by Envision Solar. One of the more ambitious projects is at Google’s California headquarters.  Energy Innovations, a company that also produces solar panels for parking lots, installed the 1.6-megawatt design.

Solar Trees were initially created by Envision Solar for large businesses, but have now been transformed to work on a smaller scale. Envision Solar recently started a new line of residential solar applications. An example of this is the LifeTree, a single post steel structure with a cantilevered canopy. It costs around $18,500 and provides about 1.4 kilowatts of clean energy.

Living in Arizona provides businesses and consumers with more than enough sunlight to take advantage of this cost-effective energy system.  Solar Trees are a way to conserve space and energy. They can save a company and consumers money, and make an “eco-friendly” statement. Solar energy is the future and planting these solar “trees” has never had a bigger payoff.

Green Icon

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$467 Million For Geothermal And Solar Energy Projects

Sustainability is an ongoing movement that requires commitment from all — from politicians to regular citizens and everyone in between. In my ongoing quest of educating myself about news and events going on in the world of “green” I came across this release from the U.S. Department of Energy.

During the 2008 presidential campaign President Obama spoke of an amibitious energy plan and the first steps have been made to make the plan a reality.

President Obama announced that “…over $467 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to expand and accelerate the development, deployment, and use of geothermal and solar energy throughout the United States.”

The fact that this much money has been set aside in the name of creating a sustainable future for the United States is a huge step forward. President Obama went on to say that “We have a choice. We can remain the world’s leading importer of oil, or we can become the world’s leading exporter of clean energy.”

Recognizing that the path we’ve been on must be altered is just the beginning. By investing money to discover alternative energy sources, technology, etc., we have made the first step on this long journey.

The funds are going toward several types of green technology: $350 million is being set aside for geothermal energy, a source of renewable energy that uses heat from the Earth for electricity generation and heating applications.

An additional $117.6 million will go toward solar energy technologies. The goal of the various partnerships and developments is to continue to lead our country to a greener future.

It’s encouraging to know that although we are all facing difficult economic times right now, the government recognizes that making this investment is for the greater good of not only the U.S. but the world.

Source:
U.S. Department of Energy