Thursday, December 10, 2009

How the Sun Helps Us Meet Our Mission

Namaste Solar will install a 8.1kW solar PV system at our newest SmartHome in Longmont. The energy cost savings from these panels will be substantial, and will contribute to our overall mission of using SmartHomes to provide better and more efficient services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

How? Read below for more information.

The Colorado developmental disabilities system is in a state of crisis. Colorado ranks 46th in the nation in fiscal effort toward providing funding for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, and there are currently more than 9,100 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families on a waiting list to receive services in Colorado, and that number continues to grow every year.

You may ask, what does this have to do with green building? For Imagine!, creating a new, sustainable way of assisting some of our most vulnerable citizens meant creating a comprehensive plan for increasing efficiencies while improving services at the same time. The development and construction of our SmartHomes was the result of this planning, and using green technologies and building techniques was a natural extension of this effort.

Our energy efficient efforts for our two SmartHomes begin by building a tight structure with upgraded insulation, and include passive solar heating. Some of the green technologies included in one or both of our SmartHomes include a heat recovery ventilation system, geothermal ground source heat pumps, solar photo voltaic panels (6.75kW), solar thermal system, and a whole house energy load monitoring system to help our SmartHomes reduce energy costs and improve the overall efficiency level of Imagine!’s service provision. Most importantly, these efforts and technologies embody the core of Imagine!’s mission, which is to provide tools and supports that allow people with developmental disabilities to become active members of their community and contributing citizens. Living in a home designed to limit impacts on the environment and human health, and enhance their neighbors’ lives, certainly enables SmartHome residents to contribute in a tangible and meaningful way to their community.

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