Solar Reflector spring02 by ddo14830


									 Chapter News                                                                                                                                       Membe rship Form
Meet Your Reps                                              1994-1999, Karl was the Construction                           Name:
Our local TXSES chapters in Houston,                        Supervisor and Executive Director for
El Paso, San Antonio and Dallas each                        Habitat for Humanity of El Paso. He                            Affiliation:
elects a member to sit on the Board of                      built energy efficient, passive solar aff-
Directors. In this issue, we would like                     ordable homes and became the first (and
to introduce you to the representatives                     only) Energy Star Builder in El Paso.
from El Paso and Houston, who bring                                                                                        City:                                          State:            Zip:
a vast amount of experience in the                                            Oral LaFleur, who
                                                                              has been in the renew-                       Home phone:                                   Work phone:
building industry and in education
and research.                                                                 able energy industry                         Fax:                                         E-mail address:
                                                                              over ten years, comes
                 Karl Dreher comes up                                         to us from Houston.                          Other organizations to which you belong (check or write-in all that apply)
                 from El Paso to serve                                        He has a master’s                               ASES       TREIA         TXSEIA        AWEA         SEED          Sierra Club
                 on the Board. Karl has                                       degree in Industrial
                                                            Technology and currently serves as                             How can you help promote clean energy? (check or write-in all that apply)
                 been a member of the                                                                                                      Attend informal discussions      Staff educational booth
                 El Paso Solar Energy                       Director of the Photovoltaic Research
                                                            and Demonstra-tion Laboratory in the                                     Help w/ solar car races      Write articles     Make presentations
                 Association since 1994                                                                                                   Conference volunteer       Contact your utility/legislators
                 and has served EPSEA                       College of Science and Technology at
as secretary, vice-president (twice), and                   Texas Southern University. Over the
currently as President. From 1997 to                        years, he has fostered a productive and
the present time, he has been the                           coordinated research profile on renew-
Program Manager for energy efficiency                       able energy in schools and industries.                                                               Annual Dues
and passive solar designed affordable                       Through his work, renewable energy                             Individual Membership:
homes at the Energy Center at UTEP.                         research and educational projects have                            $15 (student or EPSEA member)                   Business Membership:
                                                            been developed and implemented in the                             $25 (minimum regular member)                       $100      $250     $500**
In addition, he works with Tierra
                                                            United States, Mexico and South Africa.                           $50      $100*      $200*                          **includes ad in quarterly newsletter
Madre in Sunland Park, New Mexico, as
                                                            Oral is the current President of the                              $300 Patron*                                    ASES Membership:
a Construction Supervisor for self-help                                                                                                                                          $55 discounted American Solar Energy
low-income, passive solar, energy                           Houston Renewable Energy Group                                    *recognized in quarterly newsletter
                                                            (HREG).                                                                                                               Society membership for current TXSES
efficient, straw bale housing. From                                                                                                                                               members
                                                                                                                           School Fund:
 The following companies have chosen to support the Texas Solar Energy Society’s        And special thanks and kudos to       $25 Check here to contribute an additional $25 to the TXSES school fund.
 educational mission by joining at the business level:                                  the following businesses for           This money is dedicated to support renewable energy projects in Texas classrooms.
 ACR Engineering, Houston, Willis Ponder                               joining at the higher levels of
 Austin Energy, Austin, Leslie Libby                      support:
 Aztex Alternative Power Solutions, Terrell, Jerry Sutton               Business $250:
 Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, Austin, Gail Vittori
                                                                                                                           Total due:   $                       Make check payable to: TXSES
                                                                                        Barley & Pfeiffer, Austin
 Community Services, Inc., Corsicana, Jerome Vacek                                      Peter Pfeiffer, AIA                                                                            PO Box 1447
 CSG Services, Austin, John Hoffner                                                                                                 Austin, TX 78767-1447
 Department of Aviation, Baylor University, Waco, Max Schuck
 Hirschi Associates, Wichita Falls                                       Meridian Energy Systems
 Janet’s Electric, Austin, Janet Hughes                         Austin, Andrew McCalla, Burleson, Sam Reeves                                Texas Solar Energy Society wishes to thank the following members who have supported us
 SBT Designs, Boerne, Steve Shepard                            Business $500:
                                                                                                                                               with $100, $200 and $300 level memberships:
 Solarcraft, Stafford, Keven Conlin                              Green Mountain Energy,Austin
 Sun Trapper Solar Systems, San Antonio, Michaele Fossum                                                     Randy Combs, Tom Fitzpatrick, Robert Foster, Terese Hershey, Scott Lenharth,
                                                                                        Gillan Taddune
 Texas Solar Power, Austin, Craig Overmiller                                 Jane Pulaski, Paul Weatherall, Steve Wiese, Chuck Wright
 TexSUNsense, Gatesville, Joel Schwartz

 Project name:                     Indian Mesa Wind Project (also called Clear Sky)
 Owner:                            American Electric Power (largest power generator in U.S.)
 Customer:                         City Public Service (municipal utility for San Antonio, Texas) (long-term
 Developer:                        Enron Wind (will also supply O&M services)
 Location:                         Indian Mesa, Pecos County, 10 miles NW of Iraan and 45 miles East of
                                   Fort Stockton (county seat)
 Land area:                        15 square miles (9,600 acres) leased
 Turbine model:                    *Enron Wind TZ 1.5 MW (largest made in America)
 Number of Turbines:               107
 Capacity:                         160.5 megawatts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         photo courtesy of AEP
 Foundation:                       Concrete cylinder 18-24 ft. deep by 11 ft. wide (14 ft. outside diameter)
                                   Footprint: 14 ft. circular in diameter - spaced 1 - 2,000 feet apart
 Concrete:                         96 tons per foundation (10,272 tons to complete all 107 foundations, or
                                   642 truckloads - enough to make a 3’x3’ sidewalk approximately 35 miles
 Tower:                            Tubular Steel, 213 feet, 89 tons (178,000 lbs.),                                                                 Wind energy was the world’s fastest growing energy source
 Blades:                           112 feet; Rotor Diameter: 231 feet – 10% longer than the wingspan of a
                                                                                                                                                    during the 1990s, with an average growth rate of over 25%,
                                   jumbo jet (a Boeing 747-400 has a wingspan of 210 feet).
                                   Revolutions per minute: 11-20 (one revolution every 2-3 seconds)                                                 and its pace has accelerated in recent years.
 Total Height:                     328 feet (taller than Statue of Liberty)
                                                            SOLAR REFLECTOR

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Non-profit Org.
                                                                                                                                                                                                       U.S. Postage
                                                                                        Texas Solar Energy Society, Inc.                                                                              Permit # 3271
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Austin, Texas
                                                                                        PO Box 1447
                                                                                        Austin, TX 78767-1447

                                                                                        Address Service Requested

The Texas Solar Energy Society (TXSES)
was founded in 1976 and is a non-profit
educational organization formed to
increase the awareness of the potential
of solar and other renewable energy appli-
cations and to promote the wise use of
these sustainable and non-polluting

  Texas Solar Energy Society
  PO Box 1447 • Austin, TX 78767-1447
  Kathryn Houser, Director
  Phone: (512) 326-3391 or
  (800) 465-5049
  Fax: (512) 326-1785                                       The

  Visit our web site at:

PAGE 4 THE SOLAR REFLECTOR                                                     The solution comes up every morning!
                                                      A PUBLICATION OF THE TEXAS SOLAR ENERGY SOCIETY

SOLAR                SPRING

                                                     promoting the wise use of sustainable and non-polluting resources

                                                     Renewable Energy Guide for Builders
                                                        Builders and future homeowners can                                                                    light decrease the amount of electricity
                                                     easily take advantage of renewable                                                                       needed for general and task lighting.
                                                     energy sources if they incorporate them
                                                                                                                                                              Solar Water/Space Heating
                                                     into their initial plans. Builders who
                                                     desire a cost-effective and comfortable                                                                     While this option requires a higher
                                                     living space can employ solar water                                                                      initial outlay than gas or electric water
                                                     heaters, photovoltaic systems, passive                                                                   heaters, solar water heaters are cost-
                                                     solar heating and other techniques.                                                                      effective. Solar panels can be used to
                                                                                                                                                              pre-heat the water. Then, a small gas
                                                     Insulation, Windows and Efficiency                                                                       or electric heater is used to bring the
                                                                                                                                                              water up to the desired temperature.
                                                        A home that uses renewable energy
                                                     should first be energy efficient. The                                                                       Solar water heaters can also be
                                                     best-laid energy plans will have little      Creating a thermal chimney A thermal chimney is
                                                                                                  designed to cool using the natural tendency of warm air     coupled with heat exchangers to heat
                                                     effect if a house is not properly insulat-   to rise. Air is warmed by the sun in a stairwell, and as
                                                                                                                                                              the home. These systems usually rely
                                                     ed, installing at least R-30 in the          it exists through windows at the top, cooler air is drawn
                                                                                                  through the home.                                           on a large tank of water or other
                                                     ceilings and R-13 in the walls. Radiant                                                                  material that has been heated by the
                                                     barriers, proper duct sealing, high          the ideal site is not always available,                     sun. That heat source is used to warm

The                                                  performance windows and other
                                                     relatively low cost measures will also
                                                     make a home more livable and efficient.
                                                     In climates with both heating and
                                                     cooling seasons, select windows with
                                                                                                  you can make changes to the building
                                                                                                  form to fit the site. Look for ways to
                                                                                                  minimize living areas with large
                                                                                                  windows that face west. If possible
                                                                                                  orient the home to face south. Locate
                                                                                                                                                              air that is then circulated throughout
                                                                                                                                                              the home. While these systems can be
                                                                                                                                                              more complex than conventional
                                                                                                                                                              heating systems, their fuel require-
                                                                                                                                                              ments can be significantly reduced by
                                                     both low U-values and low solar heat         rooms like the kitchen or game rooms                        replacing gas or electricity with solar
                                                     gain coefficiency (SHGC). Further            to take advantage of day lighting.                          heat.
                                                     south, the SHGC becomes more critical.       Leave vegetation and add overhangs to
                                                     Appliances, particularly the refrigera-      windows that have an east or west                              Solar water heating is particularly
                                                     tor, washer and dryer, can consume           exposure. Consider “dog trots,” or                          attractive in homes with swimming
                                                     huge amounts of energy. Select               breezeways, to help collect wind and                        pools. Depending on the location, solar
                                                     horizontal-axis washing machines that        provide cooling to the building. Use                        pool heaters cost from $2,000 to $5,000
                                                     conserve water and the energy to heat        materials that reflect the summer heat                      installed and can pay for themselves in
                                                     it. When you do shop for an appliance        like a metal roof that can also be used                     2 to 7 years.
                                                     look for the Energy Star label.              to collect rainwater.
                                                                                                                                                              Solar Electric Power
                                                     Solar Energy                                 Solar Lighting
                                                     Passive Solar
                                                                                                                                                              While the cost of photovoltaic (PV) cells
                                                                                                     The sun not only provides the best                       continues to drop, the practicality of
                                                        The location and orientation of the       light, it’s free. Despite these facts, day
                                                     home on the site are the first and most      lighting is rarely discussed when
                                                     critical steps to take advantage of          talking about energy needs in the home.
                                                     passive solar gains and breezes. While       Well-placed windows that allow indirect                                                  continued on pg 3

                                                                                                  building envelopes like structural                          and environmentally sound design
                                                                                                  insulated panels, aerated concrete block                    the area has to offer. Other sponsors
                                                                                                  systems, such as Rastra, Hebel and                          include the Sustainable Living
                                                                                                  Faswall block, and thermosteel panels;                      Alliance, the US Department of
                                                                                                  homes with fascinating architectural                        Energy, Central Market, and the
                                                                                                  features that enhance livability, comfort                   American Rainwater Catchment
                                                                                                  and energy independence. Most all of                        Association.
Newsletter Staff                                                                                  the homes have rainwater collection
Editor:                       Kathryn Houser                                                      systems, many as the sole source of
Columnists:                   Jaya Pichumani                                                      water supply. Some of the homes are                          How to take the tour: Earth Day
                              Gary Vliet                                                          modest and affordable, while others are
Contributing Authors:         Tom Fitzpatrick                                                                                                                  2002 Home Tour is self-guided: you
                              Bruce Sterling         One house makes a difference                 more luxurious “dream” homes that still                      choose what you want to see and go at
Layout:                       Judy Pearson                                                        incorporate earth-friendly principles                        your own pace. A Guidebook to the
                                                     The opportunity to get inside homes          and building materials. You can observe                      locations will serve as your ticket and
Board of Directors                                   that have been built following renew-        some pioneering heating and cooling                          provide directions. Each site has a full
Officers:                                            able energy guidelines for builders will     approaches and a lot of ideas for water                      page devoted to its significant features
Jaya Pichumani, Chair                                exist in and around the greater Austin       conservation as well. In fact, the Water                     and sustainable highlights along with                             area on Saturday, April 20th as Austin’s     Conservation Department is joining us                        a photo and clear directions. You will
Katie Jensen, Vice Chair                             Earth Day celebration. TXSES is              to provide exterior sites that highlight                     be able to plot your personal tour from                        partnering with many organizations to        WaterWise landscaping and rainwater                          this information.
Carlos Russo, Secretary                              bring a stellar tour to the public. All in   collection for irrigation purposes. The
                                                     one day, you can visit homes that reduce     National Wildlife Federation is bringing                     For a simple list of free exterior
David Eggleston, P.E. Treasurer
                                                     energy consumption by over 50% from          in some of their certified Backyard                          landscape, rainwater and Backyard
                                                     typical construction practices; homes        Wildlife HabitatTM sites. We have been                       Wildlife HabitatTM site addresses only,
                                                     with impressive day lighting and ther-       coordinating with Austin Energy’s                            see
Members:                                             mal chimneys with operable clerestory        Green Building Program staff to search                       or call 974-2199.
Dominick Dina (Solar San Antonio)                    windows; homes built with innovative         out the best examples of energy efficient
Karl Dreher (El Paso Solar Energy Association)
                                                                                                                                                               How to get the Guidebook: You
Tom Fitzpatrick
                                                                                                                                                               may purchase the Guidebook for $5 at
Roy Holder
                                                                                                                                                               either Austin Central Market location
Andy Jones                                                                                                                                                     after April 8th; or via mail, for an
Oral LaFleur (Houston Renewable Energy Group)                                                                                                                  additional $1 for postage, from TXSES
Jane Pulaski                                                                                                                                                   by sending your check for $6 to:
Dick Williams (North Texas Renewable Energy Group)
                                                                                                                                                               Texas Solar Energy Society
                                                                                                                                                               PO Box 1447
                                                                                                                                                               Austin, TX 78764-1447
Visit our website for a calendar of events:                                                                                                                                                  For more information, call Kathryn
                                                                                                                                                               Houser at 512-326-3391

                                                                                                                                                      Using renewable energy for your home This Central
                                                                                                                                                      Texas house uses passive solar design with a reflective
                                                                                                                                                      roof, radiant barrier, overhangs, thermal chimney with
                                                                                                                                                      operable windows, stained concrete floors and optimal
                                                                                                                                                      wall and ceiling insulation
                                                                                                   bors, you’d be amazed at how many                   There are several providers that offer

Chairman’s                                                                                         people aren’t aware that simple steps
                                                                                                   we can take everyday can make a
                                                                                                   significant difference. I particularly
                                                                                                                                                       electricity generated from renewable
                                                                                                                                                       resources. We should feel fortunate to
                                                                                                                                                       have this opportunity to choose and
                                                                                                   enjoy talking with kids about different             show that Texans do want clean and

Corner                                                                                             types of energy sources, something
                                                                                                   many of them don’t ever think about.
                                                                                                   Exposing kids to these ideas at an early
                                                                                                                                                       renewable energy solutions and are
                                                                                                                                                       willing to act on it.
                                                                                                                                                          Although many of us do live and
                                                                                                   age makes what some of us took years to             believe that Earth Day is everyday, we
                                                                                                   understand become common sense and                  should take advantage of this day to get
with Jaya Pichumani                                                                                the only logical solution. Great ways to            our message out in a very unified effort.
                                                                                                   reach kids include building a model                 Particularly with the events of the past
                                                                                                   solar car or small solar cookers (food is           year, caring for our earth should take on
                                                                                                   always a great way to get kids, and                 a new meaning. When we take care of
Earth Day Is Everyday                                                                              adults, interested in anything!). There             our own little place in the world, the
   Please allow me to introduce myself,                                                            are many simple ways to show kids and               impact reaches beyond us. And when
Jaya Pichumani, as the new chair of                                                                adults that solar and other renewable               we don’t, the results can be catastroph-
                                                  education is the key to ensuring all the         energies are real and viable. The                   ic. The old adage “Think Global, Act
TXSES. I’ve been a TXSES member
                                                  progress and milestones we see regarding         TXSES website has lots of links to                  Local” is a way for us to have a role in
and volunteer for a few years now, and I
                                                  a sustainable society are continued and          educational resources for those interest-           helping unify our planet’s inhabitants
look forward to an exciting year to come.
                                                  expanded in the generations to come.             ed in learning more.                                and making our world a better place for
My work with PV systems has afforded
                                                     With Earth Day around the corner,                One aspect we can now pay closer                 all creatures great and small.
me many opportunities, including the
                                                  I’m reminded even more about how                 attention to is buying “green power.”
installation of small systems in rural
                                                  important it is to not only practice             On January 1, 2002, Texas’ electricity
villages of South Africa during my time
                                                  sustainable living, but also help others         market became deregulated. This                     Jaya Pichumani is the Engineering Manager
at Texas Southern University under the
                                                  understand the benefits. Whether it be           means that many of you now have a
late Dr. Hill, to developing solar school                                                                                                              in the Advanced Energy Division of CSG Services.
                                                  addressing student groups, faith groups,         choice of whom you receive electricity
programs in Texas in my current
                                                  or even your friends, family and neigh-          from and the source of that electricity.
position at CSG. I’ve learned that

                                                  energy much more efficiently. And an
What’s All This About                             energy code is a good first step.
                                                                                                   Gain Coefficient (how much radiant heat
                                                                                                   comes through). For both of these ratings,
                                                                                                                                                       should, operates much less efficiently than
                                                                                                                                                       its nameplate rating, cannot maintain
                                                     What is an energy code? It is a legal
an Energy Code?                                   guideline that establishes new minimum
                                                                                                   lower is better.
                                                                                                       The next big change will require some
                                                                                                                                                       comfortable conditions and contributes to
                                                                                                                                                       poor indoor air quality. Consumers asking
   The 77th Texas Legislature passed              levels of energy efficiency in new construc-     effort to see, especially in your attic. In the     for bigger equipment than they need are
landmark legislation during the 2001 session,     tion and remodeling. It addresses only the       past, a very large percentage of conditioned        asking for unnecessary expenses and trouble.
creating a Texas Emission Reduction Plan          enclosure of space that is heated or air-        air has typically been lost—into attics , walls        The last area where the energy code will
that, among several innovative strategies for     conditioned, and systems for heating and         and crawl spaces—because of leaky ducts:            likely produce noticeable changes is
reducing emissions from fossil fuel consump-      cooling, water heating and electrical use.       those great big “pipes”                                              insulation. And the change
tion, adopted new building energy efficiency      It is worth noting that these minimum            that carry heated or                                                 is more likely to be improved
standards—an energy code for Texas! Senate        design features are aimed at conserving          cooled air into rooms                                                workmanship than new
Bill 5 (SB 5) was authored by Sen. J.E.           energy, but also contribute to the comfort,      where you are trying to                                              materials. Insulation should
“Buster” Brown and sponsored in the House         durability and safety of a home.                 get comfortable. But if                                              be installed neatly and
by Rep. Steve Wolens. In addition to its            Over time, we will see a decrease in the       half of the chilled air is                                           evenly. It loses value when
building energy efficiency provisions, SB 5       amount of energy permanently drained out         just blowing into your                                               it has gaps for air to move
creates some incentive programs for replacing     of our economy by building waste—and we’ll       attic, or if less than half                                          around its edges, splices or
old diesel engine equipment; incentives for       see less smog in our cities. But what will you   of the cool air is being                                             cuts for electrical or
purchase or lease of more                                              see right away? The         filtered and recycled,                                               plumbing materials, or when
efficient cars and trucks;                                             main items you may          then your house is                                                   the insulation doesn’t fit
coordination of grants for                                             notice will be: better      wasting energy. Most                                                 snugly against the surface it
new technology research                                                windows with new labels,    houses do. The energy code requires that            is insulating. It also loses much of its value
and development, to                                                    the “outlawing” of “duct    ducts be sealed with materials that can             if it is compressed: jammed up into less
include certification of                                               tape,” smaller air          survive in attic conditions. The gray, cloth        depth than it is designed for. Sometimes
emission reduction                                                     conditioning equipment,     “duct tape” that we frequently see as               this problem is created when a person tries
technologies; and                                                      and new attention to the    temporary binding on truck parts and tools          to add extra insulation material in a limited
expansion of existing                                                  proper installation of      might survive for a few weeks on ductwork           space, or when standard depth material is
utility energy efficiency                                              insulation.                 in an attic, but will typically fail and come       forced behind an obstruction like a pipe or
programs. It also req-                                                   Better window             loose in its first Texas summer. The code           conduit. Inspectors are learning – and you
uires public facilities in                                             requirements in the         prohibits its use as a duct seal and requires       should know too – that when you squeeze
areas impacted by air                                                  energy code are a major     tapes labeled UL181 or an approved mastic           the natural air space out of an insulating
quality problems to make                                               win for Texas. In most of   (a rubbery paint) on all joints in the duct         material, you squeeze out its insulating
plans for reducing their                                               the state (anywhere         system. These will last.                            value.
electrical consumption                                                 south of the Red River),       Windows let in about half of the heat we             There are lots of little ways that the new
over the next five years.                                              the code will require new   used to have to cool, and the code cut that         Texas energy code will save energy and
   In short, it provides tools beyond existing    construction and remodeling to use windows       window heat gain in half! Then, we fixed the        reduce emissions, but these four are worth
emission control regulations to improve our       with a low “solar heat gain coefficient.”        ducts so that conditioned air all gets where        particular attention. And remember: this
air quality and invites much broader parti-       (SHGC must be less than or equal to .4.)         we want it to go. The result should be that         new minimum standard for energy efficiency
cipation in solutions that avoid damage to        Roughly, that means that less than half of       we need to spend less energy (and money) on         moves the baseline for efficient design,
human health and the Texas economy.               the radiant energy that hits the window will     air conditioning. Equipment can be smaller.         challenging market leaders to move beyond
It was signed into law by Governor Perry          be able to pass through. New window              And, sure enough, it is: frequently a half ton      current practice, and moving us another step
on June 15, 2001 and became effective             products are available with “spectrally          to a full ton smaller than what has common-         toward the prospect that, one day, we will
September 1, 2001. All cities will have to        selective” glass. These “select” the visible     ly been specified for a typical house. For          run on the sun.
begin enforcing the new energy code by            light part of the spectrum and let it through,   that reason the code requires that the proper
September 1, 2002.                                but keep out most of the material-damaging       size of heating and cooling equipment be
   Now, it will have occurred to most of you      ultraviolet rays and the heat-causing infra-     calculated and documented by professionally         Tom Fitzpatrick, a new TXSES Board mem-
thoughtful readers that another way to get        red rays. It’s hard to see the high-tech         accepted methods. It will be a significant          ber, is an Energy/Codes Specialist with the
rid of all those fossil fuel emissions would be   coatings that accomplish this, so the code       change for Texas consumers to have a                Energy Systems Laboratory, Texas Engineering
to replace more of the electrical generation      requires that window and door products be        chance to see and discuss these sizing              Experiment Station.
capacity with clean, renewable sources.           tested and labeled. National Fenestration        calculations with their contractors.
Good thinking. But then, you’ve always            Rating Council labels will show a U-factor       Oversized equipment wears out before it
been ahead of the times. On the way to that       (how much heat from the outside air will be
cleaner, brighter future, we must learn to use    transferred to the inside), and a Solar Heat      Texas Solar Radiation Data Available On-Line
                                                                                                    The Solar Radiation Data Base for Texas (TSRDB) web site has recently undergone revisions
                                                                                                    making it easier to use and permitting better and broader access to the data. It now includes
                                                                                                    an average of five years of solar data for the 15 sites in Texas. The archived data is global
                                                                                                    horizontal, direct normal and diffuse horizontal, and is in 5 minute or 15 minute intervals,
                                                                                                    depending on the site. This can provide critical information when contemplating any solar
                                                                                                    installation. The web site address is:

                                                                                                    The available data includes:
                                                                                                    YESTERDAY'S SITE DATA: provides both graphical and tabular 'hourly' data for each site
                                                                                                    for the day prior to your inquiry.

                                                                                                    MONTHLY AVERAGES: provides tabular monthly average daily solar radiation data for each

                                                                                                    QUERY FOR DATA: permits one to obtain tabular data for any site for any period of time
                                                                                                    during which that site data is available. (This is the major recent addition to the TSRDB web

                                                                                                    TODAY'S AUSTIN DATA: provides graphical and tabular data for Austin from sunrise to the
                                                                                                    time of inquiry for that day. (The reason why only the current Austin data is available is that
                                                                                                    we have a direct phone link to the Austin station.)

                                                                                                    SITE INFORMATION: provides data on the monitoring site.

                                                                                                    OTHER DATA: Monthly average daily solar radiation data for the 15 Texas locations in the
                                                                                                    NSRDB are also available in this site, as are links to other sites having solar radiation data.

                                                                                                    You can direct any questions or comments to:
                                                                                                    Gary C. Vliet, Dept. Mech. Engineering
                                                                                                    University of Texas at Austin

Up On the Rooftop,                                 like about it. I like a sexy, high-tech
                                                   machine that you're allowed to forget
                                                                                                       Renewable Chatter
                                                   about. My car needs gas and tuneups,
Click Click Click                                  my computer demands more attention
                                                   than a new kitten, but my solar unit just           with The Solar Guy                                      like day lighting in
                                                                                                                                                               commercial buildings
   I've been asked to write about my               turns that hot Texas sun into voltage,             Dear Solar Guy,                                          where the occupants
favorite toy. It's that three-kilowatt             each time, every time. I was up there              I have a very dark family room so I was consider-        are there mostly dur-
solar photovoltaic system, up on my roof.          just today. Even though the Texas heat             ing a skylight. I would welcome more light in the        ing daylight hours
   If they manage to                                      on that roof is hellish in summer,          room, but I am worried about getting too much            and the advantages
                                                          everything looks fine: the plastic          heat through the roof opening. Can you tell me if        become more obvious.
notice the panels up                                                                                  I would have a net gain or loss in energy con-
                                                          boxes, the wiring, the tubing, the                                                                   I have chosen sky-
there, people often ask                                                                               sumption?                                                lights in my house for
me why I've got all that                                  glass and aluminum of the panels.                                        Ima Inthedark               mood setting and the
hardware. This is an                                      They're getting close to two years                                                                   delight of admitting
Arts and Crafts style                                     old now, but they're in fine shape;         Dear Ima,                                                daylight to the inte-
house, located in one of                                  they look less time-worn than the                 This is a very good question and in addition       rior of what would
                                                          house's shingles.                           to my own comments, I have asked for some feed-          otherwise be gloomy spaces. I know there is more
the oldest suburbs in                                                                                 back from colleagues who have more expertise.
                                                              Of course, there's been a                                                                        solar heat gain during the day, so I used low SHGC
Austin. Most homes                                                                                    First my experience. About 20 years ago we had           glazing on the skylight (0.2 or less). Nighttime
circa 1912 were                                           change of administration since.             a similar problem, and I decided to put in a sky-        heat losses will also be increased in the winter, so
conspicuously lacking                                     The new lot in Washington is less           light, thinking “the bigger the better.” In hind-        I made sure I used a double-glazed skylight. I
in solar panels. But I'm                                  enamored of federal largess when            sight, I feel I overdid it even in terms of the light    believe all we can do is reduce the losses, but they
a novelist. So for me,                                    it comes to underwriting solar              let in, such that during mid day it is often over lit.   will not be totally (though partially) offset by elec-
                                                          panels for the private home. Even           I'm sure there is excessive direct heat gain in the      tric light savings in a residence.
solar power is all about                                                                              summer and it’s likely a net energy loser in the
                                                          Denmark, which was the national                                                                           So, you see that skylights don't generally get
showing off.                                                                                          winter. It is not double-pane glass. So, in gener-       favorable marks in terms of energy. The main
   I'm keenly aware of the environmen-             queen of renewable energy, had a                   al while the lighting is greatly improved--though        reason for putting them in is to have natural light,
tal benefits of clean power -- really,             similar change of government and lost              a bit over-done--I doubt it is a money saver over-       but if installed then one should use the proper
few novelists are keener. But, you see,            some Danish windmill subsidies. That's             all.                                                     glass and it preferably should be double-glazed.
I've already signed up for the Austin              why I'm glad that I don't merely go                     One colleague commented: "Ima would be bet-
                                                   lobby politicians about green energy               ter off to put 2' high windows along the top of the        Best wishes, The Solar Guy and his Comrades
Green Choice program. That means                                                                      wall if the wall faces any direction but west. Another
that all my power bills already go to pay          policy. Instead, I own some. It's                  option is that she can install a horizontal divider      The Solar Guy is really Dr. Gary Vliet,
for clean power -- mostly from those               permanently bolted to my house. It's               1' below the head of the existing windows and            Professor of Mechanical Engineering at
new, giant Danish windmills out in West            not going anywhere, no matter what                 reinstall the window coverings on the bar leaving        UT-Austin.
Texas. So if I unbolted all my Siemens             politicians think.                                 the upper 1' of the existing window uncovered."
solar panels from their big black                     I do a lot of eloquent complaining                   Another colleague had this to say: "I have sev-
                                                   about the Greenhouse Effect. I'm a                 eral views on this--the first one being that roof
brackets and hid 'em under the house,                                                                 leaks may be of more concern than the energy con-
the net environmental effect would be              true believer in the reality of climate            sumption. In regard to energy, most skylights in
pretty much the same. My point is that             change, especially after that inhuman              residences will be energy losers. The savings (in
I enjoy them. They're a status symbol.             112 degree summer we Austinites had.               electrical lighting) from day-lighting is very mod-
I've even been known to haul people up             And the giant smoke plumes from                    est in residential buildings, since this type of space
there with ladders, so much so that                blazing Mexican jungles, and the three-            is frequently used in nighttime hours. This is not
there's a footpath worn in my shingles.            foot rain that flooded Houston in 2001.
   I'm not one of those eccentric off-the-         I'm an author, and authors ought to                  Renewable Energy for Builders con’t
grid characters. On the contrary, I'm              agitate and complain -- words and
the kind of guy who loudly exports clean           rhetoric, that's what we're best at. But           meeting all or most of the homes’ electri-
power into the neighbor's house,                   my solar panels are not rhetoric. They             cal needs with solar is still limited.
whether the neighbors like it or not.              are action. Yes, they are a modest three
I live in the middle of the state's capital;       kilowatts, and I don't pretend that I can          Innovations continue to emerge, like
why would I need to be off the grid? My            light up the State Capitol or our                  roofing material made of PV cells, but
game plan is to infiltrate the network.            downtown skyscrapers. But my solar                 lower cost options, including solar-
   I'm no electrician. I'm a literary guy          panels are more than just a gesture.               powered gate openers, outdoor lighting
and could cut my thumb off slicing a               They are a working machine, where I                and water pumps, can pay for themselves
bagel. The advantage I offer in the solar          myself got hands-on with the problem.              in a short time.
hard-wiring sweepstakes is that I read a              I do hope for better someday. Solar
lot. Therefore, I can pay attention.               shingles, I could definitely go for. Solar
When the federal Million Solar Roofs               paint, that would be even better, and if
Initiative came up with this bold scheme           it ever comes to exist, I am in the
to scatter solar roofs nationwide, I was           market. I have a website that's full of
the second guy in Austin with those                speculations about non-carbon forms of
federal gizmos on my roof.                         energy and environmental design. It's
   Let me level with you here. I've been           called It's a hobby of
around government and high tech. So I              mine to freely speculate about these
had very few illusions that solar instal-          matters, and the people who listen often
lation would be an easy process. And no,           say they're very entertained. But my
it wasn't. Since I was such an early               panels, modest though they are, are not
adapter, I became Mr Shakedown Trial.              a matter of my opinion. They are facts.
I got some extra holes drilled in my                  Today's solar is a transitional thing,
building envelope, I had tool-toting guys          and it is not entirely practical, and it is        Natural heating & cooling of the home
in their trucks thumping around up                 somewhat farfetched. But then again,               Low winter sun through south-facing windows
                                                                                                      helps heat the home in the winter. Overhangs
there like a rugby scrum. My converter             you can say the very same thing about              keep the high summer sun out, while still allow-
shorted out with the first hard rain.              me, and about all of us. Global climate            ing indirect lighting.
And so forth.                                      change and giant energy systems are
   Then, however, the system actually              huge, slow, long-term problems. We
started working. And it still works.               human beings are small in comparison               This article was excerpted from the Infinite Power of
It works great. Short of a wheelbarrow             and pretty temporary. The goal is to do            Texas fact sheet #19, written by TXSES members and
                                                   something, to make it happen. I did                funded by the State Energy Conservation Office.
or a can-opener, it is about the most
                                                                                                      To read the complete set of fact sheets, go to
dependable machine I've ever owned.                that, and it felt great. I recommend it
   In the first fine romantic flush, I used        heartily.
to climb up there and tenderly wash the
panels clean, but I don't any more. The
rain cleans them. I used to step out in            TXSES member Bruce Sterling is a science fic-
the blazing heat of 2 pm and watch the             tion writer and pop science journalist. He is
meter run backwards. It still runs                 the author of, among other books, Heavy Weather,
                                                   a cyberpunk eco-thriller set in West Texas.
backward sometimes, but I admit it,
that thrill is gone. And that's what I

Solar Energy International to Host Photovoltaic
Design Workshop in Austin March 25 - 30, 2002
Solar Energy International (SEI), with             REGISTRATION:      Justine Sanchez
co-sponsors Meridian Energy Systems and                               970-963-8855
the Texas Solar Energy Society, is offering a               
week-long Photovoltaic Design Workshop in
Austin where participants will learn the           CONTACT:           Andrew McCalla
technology basics necessary to produce                                Meridian Energy Systems
electricity from the sun. A condensed                                 512-477-3050
workshop of SEI's "PV Design and                            
Installations" offered in Colorado, this highly
recommended one-week format allows for             Cost per registrant is $550.
classroom education, laboratory exercises,
tours and an actual system installation project.

Topics include:                                    SEI is a non-profit educational organization
     - basics of electricity
                                                   whose purpose is to encourage the practical use
     - solar site analysis
     - PV system components                        of renewable energies and environmental build-
     - component specification                     ing through education and technical assistance.
     - electrical wiring
     - safety procedures
                                                                                                                                                                                     PAGE 3 THE SOLAR REFLECTOR

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