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SunDog Solar a Multi-Faceted Company


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Note: This business is on the 2013 Solar & Green Building Tour. See Tour details...

As a renewable energy company we talk to our clients constantly about renewable energy and energy efficiency.  What they might not know is that we take this message to heart and over the past five years we have transformed our building from a prime example of an energy wasting building (built in the 60’s with no thought of energy conservation) to a transformed net positive building powered by multiple sources of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.  Take a look at some of our changes....

 

Insulation....

One of the first energy improvements we made to the property was to put spray foam insulation on the ceiling.  Then we spray foamed the outside of the building.  Although buildings are not typically sprayed on the outside, when you think about it, it makes sense...does a dog have its fur on the inside or the outside?  Now our building (which used to suck the heat right out of you), will not freeze, even in the coldest of winter.

Electricity...

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At our site we have three systems that show how photovoltaics can be installed.   We have a small pole in our front yard that has a ZomeWorks tracking system.  We have a 12.7 kW system on poles lining our parking lot next to the Stonykill Creek.  Then we installed a 25 kW system that is a ballast system on our roof and after that we installed a 40 kW roof mounted system on some of the buildings in the Solaqua complex.  All told it adds up to over 77 kW of photovoltaics that take care of all our electricity needs. 

Back Up Power....
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With all the PV we have on site it made sense to install a battery backup system so we can keep our office running in the event of a power outage.   The battery bank includes 48 Lucent  gel cell batteries.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heating....Pic 6

In order to heat our 20,000 square foot building, we decided to heat with used vegetable oil, a clean alternative to fossil fuels.  In the mid- 2000’s we used to spend $2000 a week on propane.  Now we collect oil from over 50 area restaurants.  Over 3 billion gallons of waste vegetable oil is produced annually in the US.  If we could collect all those gallons and use them to replace the energy equivalent of petroleum, almost 1% of conventional US oil consumption could be offset!  The oil-recycling program creates "Green Collar Jobs" as well as a domestically produced clean burning non-petroleum renewable fuel.  

 

Hot Water....

Pic 7Pic 8We get our hot water from a solar thermal demonstration project that compares the output of two solar thermal collector technologies: flat plate and evacuated tubes solar thermal collectors.  The arrays function side-by-side at the same height and angle and are monitored throughout the day. This system provides a substantial portion domestic hot water for the SunDog offices.  Federal tax credits and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) helped to fund this project. Pic 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooling....

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Even though we live in the Northeast, the summers can get HOT!  Cooling is a necessity for most buildings but it’s very expensive.  In home air-conditioning is one of the reasons we get brown out’s and black out’s on the power grid in the summertime.  One way many businesses cool their buildings is through the use of chillers.  Chiller technology has been around for years.  It uses a heating cycle, created by fossil fuel, to create cooling (usually through an evaporative and condensing cycle).  SunDog is taking this idea one step further by driving the cooling cycle on a chiller with the heat produced by a solar concentrator and evacuated tubes.  “It just makes sense”, says Jody Rael, President of SunDog, “the summer is when you have greatest solar resource and you need the cooling the most.  Using solar energy, which is plentiful in the summer to run a cooling cycle is a logical choice.  When the winter comes, we can use what heat is collected to help heat our building.”  This project was made possible with a grant from the USDA.  When completed, the chiller will cool the offices of SunDog (about 4,000 square feet of space). [Update August 30, 2013: AC from the sun - its works!]

Beyond the building.....

Pic bThis past year we achieved one of our long time goals of running our installation vehicle (a Ford-450 truck) on veggie oil.  The Ford F-450 normally runs on diesel fuel but after the conversion (by Sam Merrit of Full Circle Fuels in Hudson, NY) we just fill up with used vegetable oil!

 

 

 

In addition we also have energy efficient lighting which has reduced our lighting bills by 40% and clear window inserts to reduce drafts.  Come see how we’ve put it all together on Saturday, October 13th from 12:00pm – 4:00pm.  Sundog representatives will be here to answer your questions.


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