I had such a blast with these kids from the Flatbush Reformed Church Summer camp today. They already knew what I always say: we use renewable energy because it’s clean, it doesn’t cause carbon emissions, it improves air quality and it puts the brakes on global warming. It’s also good for keeping energy costs down in the long run. We used the SunBike at the Church Avenue Communal Garden to shred leaves for the compost pile. As master composters Anne Pope and Kady Ferguson explained, the compost needs “browns” like leaves along with food scraps. Shredding them makes the compost decompose more quickly, so why not let renewable energy do all the work (well, most of it)? Then each kid took the SunBike on a little jaunt around the church yard–just to show they’re not just smart. They’re strong enough to haul more than 200 lbs of equipment wherever it needs to go to follow the sun. You’ll see the voltage and amp meters in the video. Multiply them together for watts. Hey, that’s a 1000 watts. Good job, SunBike, and great job, kids!
Electrical integration advisor Gregory Rodlico helping me build the SunBike.
Solar Power That Is!
Sustainable Flatbush is proud to announce a partnership with Con Edison to build the SunBike, a mobile solar electric system that gets around in a retrofitted cargo bike. The SunBike will be able to provide enough energy to power a small sound system and lighting for up to two hours without access to sunlight, and do so much more.
Making Clean Energy A Reality
I’ve dreamed about creating a mobile solar electric system since I started advocating for clean energy at New York City Public Schools five years ago. With all those beautiful, unshaded flat roofs soaking up the sun’s rays, schools seemed the perfect place to show communities the benefits of clean energy and prepare our students for the green economy at the same time. But when I discovered that New York City public schools aren’t eligible for New York State’s renewable energy incentives, I resolved that solar would have to get some wheels to reach our city’s 1200 school buildings and over one million students. And now, with support from ConEd, Sustainable Flatbush can solar-empower school kids, community residents and local businesses alike.
A Vital Learning Tool
The SunBike (which we used to call the PowerBike) will become the centerpiece of the Sustainable Flatbush Solar Team, a group of local youth who will learn about solar power by studying the SunBike and analyzing all power and energy data collected while the SunBike is in action. The Solar Team gets in-depth knowledge and leadership skills as they share what they’ve learned with the public when they take the SunBike to the streets. They will help community residents charge their cell phones, laptops and mp3 players, provide power for events, and anything else they can imagine. The SunBike will show that renewable energy is not a dream but a reality right now.
The SunBike and You
The SunBike will be a visible presence on the streets of Flatbush starting next summer, at schools, street fairs, on sidewalks at “charging events” under the sponsorship of local businesses, and beyond. So if you’re walking down the street and you hear a little jingle, it just might be the SunBike coming your way, offering you clean and free power to fuel your day, and showing the way to our clean energy future.
Thanks to ConEd for their generous support of this project!
Join us for the Neighborhood Energy Forum on March 20
About a year ago, Sustainable Flatbush’s Executive Director Anne Pope and I sat at Sycamore Bar and Flower Shop on Cortelyou Road.
I had just become the Director of Energy Solutions at SF, and we were strategizing about the best ways to meet the urgent need for energy efficiency upgrades in our neighborhood, to bring down soaring energy costs and reduce our carbon emissions. With new incentive programs from government and utilities, Anne and I realized the time was right to leverage funds that would bring major energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to Flatbush.
So we conceived the Neighborhood Energy Forum. For the past year, SF’s Energy Solutions Initiative has been working diligently to bring the Neighborhood Energy Forum to fruition. We’ve been fortunate to join forces with a fantastic group of sponsors and partners, the Flatbush Development Corporation, the Energy Smart Communities program of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), ConEd, and National Grid.
Join us on March 20 at the Brooklyn College Student Center, from 9:30 to 2:00.
Admission is free! Here’s what it’s about:
Multi-Family and 1-4 Family Tracks
We understand that large buildings face different challenges than smaller homes, so depending on the size of your residence, we have information tailored to your needs. Representatives from NYSERDA, National Grid, and ConEd will highlight low- and middle-income incentive programs to help building owners, co-op boards, tenant groups and other stakeholders understand what needs to be done and how to take the first steps.
Meet Contractors Who Can Do the Work at Our Energy Fair
Energy auditors, building engineers, renewable energy installers—basically anyone you need to talk to—will be on hand offering their services. You will gain important knowledge about how to move forward by talking to the experts, and may even find someone to work with on your project.
A Perfect Storm for Renewables in NYC
With federal, state, and local tax credits and abatements, plus a solar-electric (photovoltaic, or PV) incentive rebate program, 2010 is the year for solar–not just PV but solar heat and hot water too. So if you’re one of those people who have asked us, “How can I get solar for my home,” come to the Neighborhood Energy Forum and catch up with renewable energy vendors at the Energy Fair.
Check-in with Your Elected Officials
Members of the New York State Assembly and Senate as well as New York City Council will be on hand to let you know what they’re doing to support energy efficiency and renewables in our city. See the Neighborhood Energy Forum page to get the story on who will be there.