The U.S. Marine Corps is pushing its ranks to embody environmental stewardship. 900 residences at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, are being equipped with solar thermal panels in an effort to decrease reliance on fossil fuels. The project, already underway, will become America’s largest solar thermal residential community when it is completed December 2010. The initiative sets a high benchmark for other multifamily building owners considering renewable energy sources.
Each solar panel provides about 75 percent of hot water demands for each unit. The 10-by-4-foot solar panels and their accompanying hardware cost about $7,000 a piece and will pay for themselves in energy savings in 12 years. However, this venture will prevent the release of 1,035 pounds of carbon emissions each year, equivalent to taking 255 cars off the highway or planting 10 acres of trees.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is contributing funding and FLS Energy is the panel provider. “From an environmental standpoint, our goal is to reduce the use of energy from power plants,” said Brownie Newman, director of finance with FLS. “It's about energy security and just acting in a sustainable way to preserve the environment.”