By Karen Bradley
Saturday November 18 at the Deanery Project in Lower Ship Harbour saw local folks gathering to learn about the latest in renewable energy sources and resilient living. Around 50 people spent the day watching presentations and asking questions about the limit and costs of solar energy, the efficacy of electric cars on the Eastern Shore, the latest in solar technologies, and more.
Part of a series of workshops called ReNew Renewable Energy Workshops, the day began with Member of Parliament Sean Fraser making an announcement that $20 million dollars would be coming to the Maritimes from the federal government for green projects for nonprofits through Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). Fraser said that partnerships and grassroots projects are the way of the future and are likely to be factors in determining what is funded from the project.
In keeping with the idea of partnerships and building community, the workshops were led by people working directly with new technologies in renewable energies. Wayne Groszko, of Nova Solar Capital and the Ecology Action Centre, shared three ways to use solar energy in a building:
First, heat the space through a passive solar system by building south-facing windows that account for the sun’s angle in winter. Second, heat water with a solar system on roof (these systems cut costs for heating water by 50%). And third, make your own electricity with solar panels
The Deanery Project will soon have the first electric car charging station on the Shore. Jamie Fraser arrived in his electric vehicle to demonstrate and answer questions about the mileage, costs, and efficiency of the cars.
Other presenters shared the various heating technologies that the Deanery uses, such as the Walltherm water heater in the main hall, the rocket stove in a classroom, and the clay oven. During the day, staff and volunteers attached a Cansolair solar thermal unit that uses soda cans as the conductors of warming air to the outside wall of the Deanery office, demonstrating that it’s possible to add heat a room with no fuel except the sun.
ReNew workshops aim to “empower local communities and individuals by promoting energy literacy, and aiding those involved in taking ownership of renewable energy.”said the Deanery’s Kim Thompson. “The Shore is an interesting place right now. We are not only a model locally; we are a model for coastal communities nationally.”