Kristin Kuntz Duriseti, Menlo Park Environmental Quality Commissioner
Chris Chappell (SunWater Solar Director of Sales)
Solar Hot Water System Presentation
Presented by Chris Chappell, who has 12 yrs of experience in this industry. Solar energy is used to heat water for residential, commercial, and industrial use. Systems typically include a storage tank and solar collector arrays. There are two primary benefits: reduction in energy bills for heating water, and reduction in GHG emissions, which is avoided or reduced by reliance on solar energy to heat water.
The technology was invented in California in the 1890s, but fell into disuse here although it was adopted and is widely used in some countries such as Israel. In 2010, all new homes in Hawaii must have solar hot water systems. Residential systems range between $9K – 10K including installation costs. The ROI is achieved in 10-12 years, based on use and offsets of natural gas or electricity. Solar hot water systems are generally cheaper to install than residential photo-voltaic systems (for generation of electricity). One residential system can eliminate up to 1800 pounds of CO2 each year, and these systems are proven to increase the resale value of homes.
Potential Menlo Park customers include homeowners and organizations with swimming pools. The College of Marin recently installed solar hot water systems to heat their pools.
Tankless hot water systems were briefly discussed – typically you do not receive the GHG emission reduction since you are using natural gas or electricity to heat the water.
Commercial applications include apartment buildings, hotels, gyms, dorms, and office buildings. Business that use lots of hot water such as laundries, food prep, cleaning and industrial processes are also good candidates for commercial systems.
Brief discussion about solar space heating – using solar-heated water for radiant heat applications.
There are incentives to purchase a solar hot water system – there's a 30% federal tax credit and accelerated depreciation over 5 years that effectively takes 60% of the cost of the system.
Action Teams Updates
Kristin Kuntz-Duriseti reported on the recent outreach activities at Menlo Park's second block party and Roger Reynolds anniversary celebration. The second block party theme was street trees and summer care for trees. We received new signups for the email list and distributed information. The Roger Reynolds event also added names to the email list. Thanks to the following organizations and volunteers: City of Menlo Park, Ruben Nino and Juan Alvarez, Davena Gentry, Kent Fields, Susan Cann, Alex Cannara, Jeanne Durnford, Jorie Schultz, Nils Davis, Heather Nelson, Elizabeth Houck, Sally, Gary, and Antonio at Roger Reynolds, Megan Gutelius, Mitch Slomiak, Joe Walmsley, Rosalyn Voget, Gail Slocum.
Special thanks to the following donors of gifts for block parties: Green Zebra, Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance, Roger Reynolds, Runner's High, Peet's, Menlo Velo, Commute Club, Caltrain, Reclaim, Red Hawk Realty, Cheeky Monkey
Business Action team – Kristin Kuntz-Duriseti also reported that costs of doing something "environmental" are of concern to business. The group discussed how certain cities – Berkeley and San Francisco - have created some financing options to assist their residents to invest in green solutions. Could the city of Menlo Park do something similar?
Neighborhoods Action team – Heather Nelson reported that there was no single overarching theme to individual neighborhood activity. Composting work is ongoing in her neighborhood with 1 on 1 outreach continuing, but other neighborhoods are engaged in other activities, making it difficult to track or build significant momentum around one issue.
No other Action teams reported.
Brief discussion about 350.org event scheduled for October 24 (www.350.org). Several ideas floated, including something oriented to bike riding, joining a festival that is listed on the website for Menlo Park, and campaigning to get Menlo Park residential and commercial roofs lightened to reduce harmful atmospheric effects that contribute to global warming. Meeting group developed consensus around starting a rooftop campaign on October 24 with an objective to achieve a set number of white or light colored roofs by 10/24/2010. Ideas included enlisting local roofers to offer discounts for white roofing in MP, changing permit fees to encourage white or light roofs, and creating materials that emphasize the benefits to building owners – mainly reducing summer cooling costs – while also making a very positive contribution to the environment. Erin Scott summarized all brainstorming ideas separately, and will create a Ning page for GRCC to enable more contact and exchanges of info.
Adjourned at 12:50PM