Net zero buildings are designed to produce more energy than they consume in an annual cycle. More and more people and institutions are recognizing the urgent need to transition to a fossil-fuel free future, and are seeking a deeper understanding of the net zero concept. Bill Maclay, founder and president of Maclay Architects, will give a public talk “From Net Zero Buildings to Net Zero Campuses, Communities, and Planet” at Green Mountain College this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the GMC Gorge (basement level of Withey Hall). His appearance is sponsored by the College’s Renewable Energy & Ecological Design (REED) Program. The lecture is free and open to the public. Maclay will explore the inspirations and technologies that make net zero buildings a reality today. He will also share his experience pioneering the net zero concept beyond a single building, but a broader campus and community-wide approach for those forward thinking institutions, towns, and states that have fully embraced the sustainability imperative.
Prof. Steve Letendre presented at the Renewable Energy Vermont Annual Conference on Thursday, Oct. 16 and Friday Oct. 17 in Burlington. The presentation on Thursday was titled “Predicting Solar Power Production: Forecasting Models, Applications and Future Prospects” and was based on research Steven did during his 2013-2014 sabbatical leave. On Friday, he presented “V2G: The National Perspective,” based on the work he has done over the past 15 years on developing the Vehicle to Grid concept.
Prof. Steven Letendre was the lead author of an article published in the May 2014 edition of the Electricity Journal, the leading journal in electric power policy. The article titled "Back to the Future: Assessing the Fuel Potential Displacement Using Electricity in Vermont for Residential Space and Water Heating" was co-authored with Bruce Bentley and David Dunn of Green Mountain Power. The article presents research findings on the potential economic and greenhouse gas benefits of using new, high-efficient heat pump systems in Vermont for space and water heating. While most homes in Vermont heat with fuel oil, moving back to electricity could save Vermonters millions of dollars in fuel costs and at the same time reduce carbon emissions resulting from home heating.
Prof. Lucas Brown and REED students will present the 70-square-foot house OTIS (Optimal Traveling Independent Space) at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vt., at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 15th. The presentation is made for the bookstore's monthly "Sustainable Living" series. OTIS was constructed last year by a REED class of 16 students. They challenged themselves to design and build a living space with enough room for one person, that could be easily towed behind a typical 4-cylinder vehicle, and could provide its own water and electricity. OTIS has gained wide national and international media coverage.
During the hustle and bustle of Earth Week 2.0, you may have noticed the large pole mounts being drilled into the ground beside the Dunton parking lot. These are for the new 6.12 kW solar charging station. The station will consist of two sets of 12 modules a piece, installed by SameSun of Vermont.People with electric vehicles will be able to plug into the system to charge their vehicles. When the system is not busy charging vehicles, it will be sending solar kWhs back to the grid, giving the College renewable electricity credits through net metering. This project was made possible with a $12,500 Green Mountain Power grant, a $3,366 state rebate, and $16,534 from our own green revolving loan fund. The Green revolving loan fund is a pool of $30,000 that is set aside for green energy investments on campus that have a guaranteed return, such as the project to replace all 80 lamp posts outside with LEDs this past fall. When the money is paid back to the fund from savings, it is used again for other projects, keeping the ball rolling. Our revolving loan fund is part of a national effort called the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, led by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, where the goal is for a billion dollars to be invested across multiple colleges and universities.
The latest Renewable Energy and Ecological Design (REED) project--nicknamed OTIS (for Optimal Traveling Independent Space) - has received broad attention in recent weeks. The Boston Globe featured OTIS in a recent "Brainiac" column, and design/build blogs have been all over the story including Treehugger, Inhabitat, Gizmag, and Tiny House Living.
Students in Prof. Lucas Brown's REED courses and Prof. Jessica Cuni's Contemporary Art Theory course traveled to New York City over the weekend. Brown's courses studied the integration of nature within the urban environment. Visits included the Highline Park in Chelsea, Paley Park in Midtown, and Central Park. They also sketched a number of significant Modern and Contemporary buildings, including Frank Gehry's IAC Building, Shigeru Ban's Shutter Houses, and Mies Van Der Rohe's Seagram Building. Students also looked at product and furniture design, visiting a number of galleries in Chelsea and SOHO. All students went to the Museum of Modern Art on Sunday. The New York trip is now an annual GMC excursion, enabling students to experience art and design firsthand.
Pliny Fisk III, co-director and founder of the oldest architecture, research and planning office in the US, will give a series of lectures and classes including an evening keynote at 7 in the East Room on Monday, February 25. The lecture will cover 37 years of groundbreaking work including prototypes, materials, buildings (2 solar decathlons), a state demonstration green building, a state demonstration integrated farm, carbon balanced design of furniture to buildings, and protocols. He will touch on 10 different planning methods that have been tailored to a wide range of clientele, from revolutionary governments to the U.S. EPA.
Green Mountain College recently received a grant of $15,000 from the Duke Energy Foundation for the College's renewable energy and ecological design (REED) Program’s development of a digital fabrication laboratory called FabLab. The objective of the REED FabLab is to provide GMC students, local high school students and adults with the infrastructure to acquire skills using digital fabrication technologies. The REED FabLab, located adjacent to the REED program’s shop in downtown Poultney, will provide individuals the opportunity to translate digital information into material products. Trained users will use the lab to fabricate models, test prototypes, and explore small-scale manufacturing processes. It will also support the expansion of GMC’s REED program that was previously offered as a certificate program at the College. In January 2012, GMC’s board of trustees approved the creation of a new major, a B.A. in renewable energy and ecological design. more...
Internationally acclaimed author, entrepreneur and energy expert Steven Strong will be at GMC Thursday, October 13 to present his talk "Energy: Building the Bridge to the Post-Petroleum World” in a program sponsored by the College and renewable energy non-profit Energize Vermont. The presentation will be held at the Gorge in Withey Hall 6-8 p.m. 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. More
The REED program hosted David Smith of Princeton Energy Systems on Wednesday September 21 to present the findings of a Building Envelope and Thermographic Assessment performed on campus last spring.Smith has over 18 years experience in the energy industry dating back to his position as director of planning and development for Princeton Energy Partners, the predecessor firm of PES. In that capacity he helped commercialize the advanced building energy diagnostic tools and retrofit methodology developed at Princeton University in the late 1970’s.In 1999, Mr. Smith founded Princeton Energy Systems to offer an expanded “systems approach” that combined energy efficiency and renewable energy and/or distributed energy resources in the built environment. In the last three years, Mr. Smith has led the design, development, evaluation and/or installation of over 3 MW of on-site photovoltaic (PV) solar electric systems with nearly all of the projects featuring energy efficiency retrofits.
Photovoltaic technical trainer Khanti Munro '04 published an article in the October/November issue of Homepower magazine. The piece describes how he overcame several technical challenges in installing a pole-mounted solar array at Prof. Steve LeTendre's home in Middletown Springs. Munro taught a course at GMC last semester--his students developed the photovoltaic system in the Tiny House, built by Prof. Lucas Brown's design build class.
There is a new gateway to the College's "outdoor classroom," the Lewis Deane Nature Preserve. In August, a project developed by the College and Yestermorrow Design/Build School involved the fabrication and installation of a handsome 40-foot wooden bridge that now spans the stream at the edge of the preserve. The bridge will provide easier access to the 85-acre preserve which is used by students and faculty as a venue for research and recreation. Three Green Mountain College students participated in the community design/build class including Kaitlin Rogers, Ian Barnum, and Sarah Gastler. The trio earned three external practicum credits toward GMC's Renewable Energy & Ecological Design Certificate (REED) program. "This was an extraordinary opportunity for our students to work with several pioneers in the design/build movement including Steve Badanes, Jim Adamson and Bill Bialosky.", said Prof. Lucas Brown who heads up the College's REED program and served as the project manager. Badanes, Adamson and Bialosky are instructors at Yestermorrow Design Build School in Waitsfield, Vt. The span is made of two curved glue-laminated beams with railings and decking fabricated from local cedar and hemlock.
Dan Snow is an assemblage artist specializing in site-generated, or locally sourced, natural materials. His dry stone constructions have included stock-proof fences, pillars, stiles, staircases, and arch bridges. On April 19, Dan gave a lecture titled "Art and the Working Landscape: Shaping our Environment Today," followed by a workshop on dry-jointed stone work.The half-day workshop gave an introduction to the basics of dry-jointed stone work. Participants learned about and practiced time-honored dry stone walling techniques such as using the length of each stone into the wall, and laying each stone to cover the joint below.The lecture was about how cultivated land is a handmade environment, and how over the past two centuries, the rural face of Vermont has been shaped by farm life.
With 96 square feet of living space it’s not palatial, but you can’t beat the price. The entire building cost $1927 to construct, about $20 per square foot. The "Tiny House" unveiled by 19 students in Prof. Lucas Brown's (Environmental Studies) design & build course last semester has received lots of attention in recent weeks, including the Boston Globe and the Architect's Newspaper Blog.