Ann Arbor Becomes First Fire Station in Michigan to Use Solar Energy
The City of Ann Arbor has recently completed the first solar water heating system to be installed on a fire station in Michigan. This system uses solar energy to heat water for showers and other hot water needs at the fire station. This project is part of Ann Arbor’s City-wide goal to move to renewable energy for 30% of its energy needs by 2010.
The City of Ann Arbor, utilizing a $6,000 grant from the Michigan Energy Office, recently completed the installation of a $12,000 solar water heating system at the Fire Department Headquarters located at 111 N. Fifth Ave. in Ann Arbor. Solar water heaters have been identified as one of the most effective ways to utilize solar energy in Michigan. Besides the daily fire administration staff, seven firemen live at the station around the clock, cooking meals, taking showers and washing clothes. The station uses over 200 gallons of hot water a day. The solar water heating system is expected to save $600/year in natural gas costs. In May 2006, the Ann Arbor City Council passed a Green Energy Challenge Resolution requiring that all municipal operations be powered by 30% green energy by 2010 and that 20% of all energy used by the community be renewable energy by 2015.
Council sited the many benefits of renewable energy such as: stabilizing energy costs, stimulating the local economy, reducing air pollution, reducing global warming pollution and reducing reliance on imported energy sources. In July 2006, City Council, as part of the Green Energy Challenge, approved a resolution to implement the Ann Arbor 5,000 Solar Roofs program, with a goal of installing 5,000 solar water-heating systems in Ann Arbor by 2015.
This fire station solar water heating system is just the beginning of City commitments to move forward to meet the challenge of 30% renewable energy for its operations and demonstrate that solar energy does work in Michigan. The City has partnered with the Hands-On Museum, who will construct an exhibit in their museum next door to the fire station to teach visitors about solar water heating, how it works and why we need to start moving to renewable energy sources.
For more information, contact David Konkle at email@example.com