Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Slower Lower Greener Delaware

It seems that we aren't as slow as they'd make us out to be down here in lower Delaware. The Milford School District yesterday announced the construction of a "zero energy" school facility for 8th and 9th graders that will use solar panels, wind turbines, and other sustainable energy technology to make itself completely independent of a power company's services.

The News Journal covered this story in a brief article here.

With the price of oil stabilizing, this might not seems as dramatically revolutionary as it would have at this time last year, but the move to locally-created, non-oil energy takes our community (and our country) that much farther in the journey toward being less dependent upon China and Russia and Saudi Arabia for our existence.

The programs like this also end up saving money for the school district, which can be passed along as lower school taxes (suuuuuuure) or, more likely, more bearable tax increases over the years.

The helical wind turbine pictured above is the newest design for capturing as much wind as possible for making energy. It will also capture wind blowing in any direction (including updrafts and downdrafts) so they work well in cities and towns where buildings can block the wind blowing horizontally.

For those of you who are now saying "Hey Matt! How do I get back on the right track and get some of this alternative energy for myself?"...there are plenty of tax credit and financial incentive programs for homes and businesses to get in on the "green energy" bandwagon.

The News Journal has a good overview of the programs that are currently in effect and links to the places to find more information here. Also, there is some great information on the State's energy website about all the available programs and incentives, and FAQ's on applications such as geothermal and windmills.

And take a good, long look at geothermal systems. Most of the literature suggests that small scale "green" systems should start with this application instead of solar or wind power, which only pay off quickly in larger industrial or commercial applications.

So, I tip my hat to you, Milford School District. I hope that your program will become a model for other schools, governments, and communities in the Delmarva region and beyond.

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