Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Largest Solar PV Install in the World

New York skyscraper uses MAGE POWERTEC PLUS modules 50 stories above ground; 122.4 kW system also largest in Manhattan.

Dublin (Georgia), February 07, 2012. – MAGE SOLAR, part of the globally operating MAGE GROUP, announced that its MAGE POWERTEC PLUS modules are part of a 122.4 kW rooftop PV-installation in Manhattan. The solar array is at the elevation of 737 feet, making the building the tallest in the world with a solar PV-installation on its roof.

The installation on top of the 50-story commercial building in the heart of Manhattan was recently completed using highest-performance MAGE POWERTEC PLUS modules. With their industry-leading 30-year 80% power output guarantee, they are a highly visible, long-term commitment to corporate sustainability and additionally a sound financial investment and innovative business model as well. Since MAGE SOLAR modules exclusively feature positive tolerances (0 to +5 Watts) the system will produce with optimal efficiency for a maximum amount of time.

"MAGE SOLAR is proud to be part of this enormously exciting project," says Joe Thomas, President and CEO of MAGE SOLAR USA. "Whenever a company decides to add sustainability and innovative technology into their business plan, there are economic drivers behind it as well. With MAGE SOLAR's premium performance modules the owners are guaranteed maximum power efficiency and yield for the longest amount of time. But this innovative PV-installation also proves the great adaptability of solar PV systems, be it a homeowner's roof in the countryside, utility-scale trackers, or almost 1,000 feet above the ground in the middle of one of the most exciting cities in the world, solar works everywhere in America."

Photo Caption: The MAGE POWERTEC PLUS modules are part of this 122.4 kW rooftop array. At an elevation of 737 feet from the ground, this is the world's tallest building with a solar PV-array on top of it. © Vanguard Energy Partners

We would appreciate a sample copy of any reprints.

MAGE SOLAR – The Sun on Your Side
MAGE SOLAR USA, headquartered in Dublin, Georgia, specializes in complete solar systems and provides high-quality photovoltaic modules, intelligent mounting systems and high-performance brand inverters. As a subsidiary of the international MAGE GROUP, it uses the Group's 40 years of know-how to develop optimally coordinated system solutions. A competent partner network guarantees profitable solar energy systems for customers throughout the Americas and in fourteen more countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.


School Facilities Cut Energy

Students Cut Energy Use By Up to 17% in National Energy Conservation Challenge

Schools Showcase Energy-Saving Technologies and Positive Behavior Changes


New York, NY –  Students across the U.S. are reporting impressive energy savings on their school campuses during the third week of meter readings for the 2012 national Green Cup Challenge® (GCC), with some schools reporting cuts as high as 17%.

"This is extremely positive news for America, which makes up just 5% of the world's population but consumes 24% of the world's energy," says Peg Watson, Founder and President of the Green Schools Alliance (GSA). The GSA sponsors the GCC, which is now in its fifth year; 116 GCC schools in 22 states are competing to reduce their electricity consumption during peak winter energy usage, January 18 to February 15.

Preventable energy waste costs Americans hundreds of billions of dollars a year and studies have shown that most Americans continue to live in denial about their energy consumption.  But students are turning that around.

"From California to Florida, students and school campuses are modeling technologies and behaviors that save energy, money and the environment during the GCC and beyond," says GCC Program Director Katy Perry.

Energy-saving strategies range from the simple and low-tech to the high-tech.

The Latin School of Chicago has seen an 8.2% reduction in its energy consumption so far. The independent K-12 school has quietly made big investments in renewable energy and campus-wide efficiencies that are paying off in many ways, thanks in large part to Peter Brown, the school's Director of Facilities and Operations.

"We're seeing a savings of around $45,000 per year for our campus," says Brown, who last year installed solar PV panels on Latin's Middle School building, along with a new bird friendly wind turbine and a solar hot water heating system.  The Upper School's roof went solar in 2009.  All lights in the Middle School were retrofitted with motion sensors and dimmable ballasts. AV management software shuts down systems at night, and environmental monitoring software tracks and promotes awareness about sustainability. 


With the annual cost savings, Brown expects to see a return on Latin's investments in about ten years; but their value is not just economic.  A public website page is tracking how many pounds of carbon dioxide the school has kept out of the atmosphere by using solar energy, and the educational opportunities surrounding these choices are infinite.

"By making ethical decisions about how we use energy throughout our facilities, we can use our campus as a classroom for our students," says Brown.  

Indeed, Latin's two green roofs - atop the Middle School (5,500 sq. ft.) and the Upper School (1,200 sq. ft.) – have become virtual science and engineering laboratories.  On a hot day, using infrared thermometers, students have observed that the temperature on a traditional roof is often 30 degrees Fahrenheit higher than a green roof. "This is a great opportunity for students to see how a green roof can help reduce cooling costs," says Brown.

Saint Paul's, an independent Pre-K – 8 school in Clearwater, Florida has been using air conditioning (A/C) instead of heat this winter, due to unusually warm temperatures. But it has nonetheless managed to reduce its electricity consumption by 17% during the GCC. A/Cs have been set at 74° F, up from 72° F.  Since the last GCC, Dean Ledee, Saint Paul's Director of Facilities and a member of the staff Green Team, says he has replaced up to six old A/C units with more efficient Energy Star models. And as exterior lights blew out, he replaced them with LEDs. "Despite the recent 3% electricity rate increase, we haven't felt it," says Ledee, who gives credit to the teachers and students for being conscious about their electricity use. "We've really focused on turning lights off when we leave a room, setting our computers to sleep mode, and using the GCC as an opportunity for people to focus on their habits," says Karen Zilhaver, Technology instructor and Green Team member. Zilhaver says that, over the years, Saint Pauls's staff has educated students about why it's important to save energy, and resources more generally. "It serves them well at school and in the world to be good environmental stewards."

At the New Roads School in Santa Monica, California, students and staff also achieved reductions of 17%. "We brought natural light into the computer classroom by cutting a big skylight into a false ceiling and we haven't turned the lights on in the room since," says Tyrone Sandaal, the High School's Co-Director.  Sandaal said students and staff have been going room by room controlling thermostats, shutting off computer monitors, space heaters, and lamps.  They installed special plates on light switches outside of seven modular buildings to prevent lights from being turned on unnecessarily during the day, and put night lights on timers.  "What we found going into the GCC is that we were very effective in our campaign last year, so it was much easier for us to do what we needed to do this year. It's about creating habits." In the future, Sandaal hopes to create a GCC home version. "Parents and families would compete with each other to create percentage reductions at home, and report the results in school," he says.

With just one week to go for the national GCC and popular GCC video contest (both end on February 15th) schools are scrambling for last-minute reductions and the coveted first place, posting web and Twitter updates along the way.  

"National winners will be announced in a couple of weeks, though all GCC schools are winners in our book," says Perry. 

New York City and Chicago public schools launch their own GCC on March 2nd.


CONTACT: Katy Perry, 860-578-0174,  Emily Fano, 917-301-8830

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The Green Schools Alliance, c/o Jeffrey A. Smith Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP Worldwide Plaza, 825 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10019 United States

Monday, February 06, 2012

PCA Economist Presents Residential Forecast at International Builders' Show

Traditionally one of the more conservative recovery voices at the International Builders' Show, Portland Cement Association (PCA) Chief Economist Edward Sullivan believes there is a "tinge" of optimism on the housing front – more so than in other building sectors.

As with the national economy, recovery of the housing market depends on a synchronized series of events including demand gains, job creation, sentiment gains, and an easing of lending standards. The entire circle of events must be spinning for sustained economic and construction growth in all markets, but especially the housing market.

Find out what this Chicago Federal Reserve-honored economist has to say about today's residential construction sector as well as when and where builders and homeowners can expect a recovery. Attend our press conference, Wednesday, February 8, 8 am, in the PCA Booth (#W2383) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

Sullivan will present an economic forecast regarding residential construction that includes immediate expectations and long-term trends.

To RSVP for the press conference, please contact Patti Flesher at pflesher@cement.org or 847-972-9136.

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Portland Cement Association, 5420 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL 60077 United States