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Harvest the Power of the… Rain? This week’s green tip:

Here at Solardelphia we’re used to talking about the power of the sun and hoping for sunny days, but this week’s green tip is all about taking advantage of those not so sunny days.

The rainy season is nearly upon us, but don’t despair; April showers bring May flowers! To get ready for all your spring gardening and planting I recommend using a centuries old method of trapping, storing and reusing rain water. A great strategy is a rain barrel that collects roof runoff. These can be bought at your local home improvement or gardening center, but are also easy to make yourself!  (Just google “Do It Yourself Rain Barrel” for detailed plans and instructions, or check out the video at http://standingupforillinois.org/cleanwater/rb_info.php)  The principles are simple – use gravity to gather, store and distribute water that would otherwise be immediately soaked up into the ground.

Most systems share these common design elements: A large trash can or other plastic container, a pedestal for the storage barrel to sit on (the barrel should be raised off the ground at least two feet), a hose connection with a penetration at the bottom of the container, a lid for the barrel, and a downspout that connects the existing gutter to the lid. Ideally the barrel should be located near the exterior of your home that’s closest to the area of your property that will demand the most watering.

One lengthy period of rain can easily fill a 55 gallon container, which is enough to water most gardens and plants. During peak summer months, one rain barrel can save as much as 1300 gallons of water. Not only that , but rain barrels reduce water pollution by cutting down stormwater runoff that can contain pollutants like sediment, oil, grease, bacteria, and nutrients.

Fresh water may seem abundant but the reality is only a fraction of one percent of all the water on the planet is accessible for human consumption. Many experts agree there will be global conflict in the coming years over limited water resources, much as countries fight over oil right now. By responsibly gathering and using rainwater, you can help to reduce your own  environmental footprint.

Happy gardening!

– Eric Mount, Solardelphia, CSBA

February 9 – Green Tip of the Week!

A recent study was done to find out the truth about the well-known strategy of running your vehicle for a few minutes to let it warm it up before you venture out in the cold. Some people also do this for a different reason – to let the oil in the engine circulate to avoid stressing and damaging the engine. It turns out that while it does obviously warm the interior of the vehicle, it does so very inefficiently. The quickest way to warm up your car or truck is to just get in and get on your way. As for the theory of letting the motor oil circulate to prevent engine trouble, the evidence suggests that’s not the case at all. Most mechanics who were polled as part of the study agree that after about 10 seconds the oil has completed a full cycle so any time spent over and above that is just wasting gas and polluting the air. To add to the harm, during cold periods of weather exhaust fumes can linger around because the air is more dense than warmer stretches so it can get trapped in the near vicinity of the vehicle. This is most harmful in developments and communities with a large number of closely packed parking spaces. You don’t want your neighbors to breath in your fumes as they walk through or around the noxious cloud you’ve created.

In summary, it is highly recommended to just suck up the cold for a minute or two as you’re already on your way to your destination. If you’re concerned about damaging your engine, simply allow about 10 seconds of time for the oil to circulate. That’s about the amount of time it takes to put your coffee mug in its cup holder, turn the radio on, put your seat belt on, and plug your cell phone into the car charger.

– Eric Mount, Solardelphia, CSBA

January 14 – Green Tip of the Week!

The snowfall so far this winter hasn’t kept up with last years pace however it is still early. Rock salt is commonly used to combat ice buildup on driveways and sidewalks during periods of heavy accumulation. While this solves the problem of slippery and dangerous surfaces the after effects can cause harmful damage to the ecosystem. When the residue eventually finds it way to the local waterways the result can be devastating to many species of fish and other aquatic animals due to the reduced oxygen levels caused by the polluted runoff. The green solution to keeping your home free of dangerous ice isn’t popular but effective. By getting a head start on keeping your driveway and sidewalks clear of snow you can usually avoid heavy ice buildup by shoveling every 2-3 hours instead of waiting until the storm has passed. The worst ice usually is a result of compacting snow by avoiding clearing surfaces and driving over the snow, leaving treacherous tire tracks. This can be avoided by doing a little “grunt work”, i.e. getting your trusty shovel out and putting it to use.

If salt is necessary, such as at your place of work, there are less-harmful products to use instead of traditional rock salt. Most stores that carry rock salt offer alternatives. If you own a gas powered snow blower try to avoid using this only when shoveling is ruled out, such as a heavy overnight snowfall. These machines spew out harmful particulates and dangerous emissions.

The other added benefit of shoveling over using salt and blowers are the less obvious social benefits. Shoveling gives neighbors the opportunity to interact during a common struggle, strengthening relationships. Plus you don’t have to shout over the noise from your blower to say “hi”!

January 3, 2011 – Happy New Year! 

Introducing the new Green Tip of the Week, from Solardelphia’s Eric Mount.

The holiday season creates a bunch of unnecessary waste. To minimize your impact on the environment it is recommended that gift containers, including boxes and gift bags, be reused and stored for use during the following year. If storage space is an issue there are two solutions. Small boxes can be stored in medium sized ones, which can then be placed in larger ones (same thing applies to gift bags). Another option that will save even more space is to carefully break each box down, allowing you to store them flat, one on top of the other. When the time comes to reuse the boxes simple masking or packing tape can be used to make them usable again.

Eric Mount has worked at Solardelphia since 2009. He is a Certified Sustainable Business Advisor.

December 17 – House Passes Extension of Job-creating Treasury Section 1603 Program

After months of negotiations, the US solar industry can breathe a sigh of relief, as Reps. Holt, Blumenauer and Thompsons’ efforts to extend the Federal 30% Investment Tax Credit CASH GRANT PROGRAM were successful in the House of Representatives.

About a week ago the ITC Cash Grant extension was included in the Tax Bill, which was pushed through the house late last night without any further adjustments. The bill could be signed into law by President Obama as early as this afternoon. Read more here and call Solardelphia to start planning those 2011 commercial solar projects and solar farms! http://seia.org/cs/news_detail?pressrelease.id=1166

December 15 – Solardelphia HQ Goes Solar!

Yesterday, Solardelphia installers began a solar PV installation at our HQ in Doylestown. The system, a roof-mounted 6.3kW SunPower system consisting of 28, 225Watt panels, will cover approximately 1/3 of the office’s electric usage. Visit us on Facebook to see photos of the installation in progress!

December 10 – Solardelphia CEO Jude Webster interviewed by NBC –

Click here to see the full video (http://www.ceointronet.com/ceointronet-tv/)

December 10 – Breaking News: Federal Solar Tax Grant Program Included in Senate Tax Compromise

Read about this critical policy decision for the US solar industry here (http://solardelphia.blogspot.com/)

December 7 – Mystified about utility rate deregulation?

You can now choose your electricity supplier! Solardelphia spells it out here.

Solar Roof Installation

November 15 – Solardelphia is now on Twitter! Follow us here!

November 12 – Tell a friend! Solardelphia Referral Program.

What could be better than helping a family member or neighbor to go solar while getting compensated for your referral?  Earn up to $1000 for residential referrals and up to $2000 for commercial referrals – click here for more information.

November 1 – SOLARDELPHIA IS HIRING!

Looking for an exciting job in the solar industry? Have sales experience? Please email us for more info. on open positions or to submit a resume and cover letter. Please email shannon@solardelphia.com.

October 15  – Project Spotlight: 60 Bragg Hill Road, Residential Solar

Solardelphia is proud to be a partner on this “from-the-ground-up” sustainable home contruction in Chester County. The project boasts green construction techniques such as high-density walls and passive solar orientation (also orienting the home to support PV panels of course), in addition to and official clearance from the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory (PNDI)  to protect endangered species, natural communities and geologic features from being threatened by development. This project truly embodies all elements of sustainable and responsible design, construction and living. We look forward to placing the cherry on top – SunPower PV panels.

October 14 – Project Spotlight: Koenig Residence, Residential Solar

The Koenig residence is the first single family home in the state of Pennsylvania to attain a LEED platinum certification. This home, built by Creswell & Company is 76% more efficient than present standard construction homes, and it is currently one of the lowest HERS ratings in the state and nation. Many cutting edge practices were implemented in the home from the complete use of solar power to run construction tools, to a comprehensive recycling and waste reduction program that put our total project waste below 10% of a typical home and never saw a commercial dumpster on site. Extensive use of environmentally friendly materials earned us exemplary performance extra points under the LEED system. This home incorporates both passive & active solar collection, with a  5.04kW SunPower PV system installed by Solardelphia, as well as geothermal heating/cooling, a central manifold plumbing supply with instant gas dhw, structural insulated panels, an energy recovery ventilator, no and low voc paints and adhesives, native plants, and extensive air sealing, among many other green attributes. Solardelphia was excited to be a partner on this project, and we encourage all of our customers to embrace energy efficiency along with their solar installations! Actions as simple as changing out lightbulbs to more efficient ones and unplugging appliances when not in use can contribute to even more savings on your electric bill!

October 10 – SOLARDELPHIA HAS BEEN SELECTED FOR THE PHILLY 100 AWARD!

Recognized as one of the fastest growing, privately held companies which form the backbone of the region’s economy and develop the business acumen of the region – Out of the 100 businesses to receive the award, Solardelphia was ranked #2 with 370% growth in the past year!
Read the full PRESS RELEASE
And visit the Philadelphia 100 website to learn more!

September 10 – How does a ground mount Solar System get installed?

Watch this video to see Solardelphia’s crew in action: Click here for our video!

September 7 Come out to the Philly Green Fest

2nd and South Streets this Sunday, September 12 – greenfestphilly.org for more information.

August 1 – We’ve moved!

Visit us at our new showroom in Doylestown, 3931 Saw Mill Road (corner of N. Easton Rd/611.) PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW ADDRESS! Our phone # and all other contact information remains the same.

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