Solar Decathlon

Posted in News Link, rooflite News on October 13, 2009

If you haven’t heard of the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon – take a look at the official website HERE.  Basically, the goal is to make a solar powered home – over a small footprint.  Their are ten classes of judging, the most valuable being net metering – or total energy generated.  Half of the design idea is to ‘integrate’ your solar system; not to design a trailer and slap the biggest solar panels possible on top…

What does this have to do with green roofs?  Well, I’ve seen and heard the erroneous statement too many times: “You can have solar or a green roof, but not both in the same space.”  Don’t worry that there is research over a decade old showing that solar panels produce more energy at lower temperatures (ie – they operate more efficiently; see study here PDF)  Many people just don’t come to that logical conclusion – and then rule out that some plants like shade, and some require it.  That study above references denser foliage under the solar panels, and bigger plants.  But what does that have to do with the Solar Decathlon?  Take a look at these PhotoVoltaics:

Penn State's GRIPV

Penn State's GRIPV

Penn State has modified and installed Solyndra‘s new cylindrical photovoltaic system over an extensive green roof.  Growing on rooflite® extensive mc.  The team’s Landscape Architecture project manager, Scott Goodrich, contacted Skyland USA back in June about supplying media for the project.  And in August, we did what we do best and delivered half a truck load of rooflite® extensive mc to State College, PA.  The team took it in super sacks over bulk, since the green roof trays they ordered went MIA around campus.  Not as easy to make off with a 2 cubic yard super sack.  We wish the PSU team the best of luck as they compete this week.  We feel their entry really pushes the envelope, for the contest and for all of the architects out there designing green roofs and photovoltaic systems in conjunction.  They really took the design philosophy of building integrated PV to heart, unlike many of the ‘building applied’ projects.

Hopefully, they win the $100,000 prize, and can further the system they’ve created.  Unfortunately, as of today their in 19th place.  Good Luck! – Visit PSU Team’s Official Site here.