Harnessing the power of the sun
Chewonki is a great believer in harnessing the sun’s power to create energy for making hot water and electricity. Our campus holds many reminders of our connection to the sun, from our 18th-century barn, which is oriented to take full advantage of the sun in all seasons, to our Center for Environmental Education, which won first place in the Northeast Green Building Award competition.
We see solar technology as an effective method to reduce greenhouse emissions. Solar hot water systems have proved themselves as the quickest and most cost effective solar solution available. Such systems can be seen over our main administrative building, our classrooms, and some faculty houses.
Solar electricity has also found a home at Chewonki, with several building producing energy from their photovoltaic pannels:
- The Center for Environmental Education: 44.28 kW
- Saltmarsh Farm: 19.89 kW
- The Clarence E. Allen Natural History Center: 18.15 kW
- The George R. Wallace Dining Center: 24.75 kW
- Gordy Hall: 3 kW
Total 115 kW, providing 50% of our daily energy needs at Chewonki.
In 2006, we committed to incorporating solar technology into all new buildings and renovations on our campus. Our newest housing incorporates passive solar design, solar hot water, and efficient insulation. The new Gordy Hall cabin challenges students to live with a limited resource. Their electrical budget is limited to a modest PV array and pedal power generation.
Chewonki’s most recent solar project has been to install an industrial solar hot air collector on the south-facing wall of our new dining hall. To learn more about this project – Solar Air Collectors.