FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications
October 3, 2011
Solar Pioneer Steven Strong Presents at Green Mountain College
POULTNEY—Internationally acclaimed author, entrepreneur and energy expert Steven Strong will be at Green Mountain College (GMC) on October 13th to present a talk titled “Renewable Energy: Building the Bridge to the Post-Petroleum World.”
Strong began his energy career as an engineer on the Alaska pipeline in the 70’s. He quickly became convinced there were less-costly and more environmentally desirable ways to provide comfort and convenience to consumers than the costly extraction of fossil fuels. In the pioneering days of solar electric technologies, Strong helped build the first solar-powered neighborhood using photovoltaics (PV) in Massachusetts back in 1984. These PV panels generate electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity. Strong began his own company called Solar Design Associates, and installed the first solar panels on the White House during the Carter administration. As his expertise and reputation grew, Time Magazine named Strong an Environmental Hero for the Planet in 1999.
Drawing on his background in architecture and engineering, he has devoted most of his life to the engineering and integration of renewable energy systems. His projects include the world’s first fully solar private residence, the first solar-powered U.S. Embassy (in Geneva), and the first solar powered Olympic facilities (the Atlanta games of 1996).
"Even back in the solar-crazy '70s, it was an open question if anyone could survive trying to sell houses that produce all the power they need through renewable energy sources," said Strong, in an 2007 interview with Time.
Strong visits the College at a time when GMC is moving ahead with several renewable energy initiatives. In 2006, GMC began buying 50% of its electricity from Central Vermont Public Service’s Cow Power program. Cow Power delivers energy from burning biogas created from cow manure collected on Vermont dairy farms. In the spring of 2009, students under the direction of faculty and GMC alumni working in the renewable energy field installed solar thermal panels on the roof of the barn on the College farm. The solar array heats water for the College farm to clean vegetable produce and the equipment used in its small-scale dairy operation. The College is also experimenting with a solar-powered root zone heating system in high-tunnel greenhouses, a method of extending the growing season in cold climate regions.
Steven Strong’s engaging interactive presentation will be held in the Gorge of Withey Hall from 6 to 8 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, and is co-sponsored by Energize Vermont.