Story posted July 11, 2011
In March 2010, Bowdoin announced it had been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Maine Public Utilities Commission toward the installation of a solar hot water project for Thorne Hall. With that grant, a 960-square-foot solar thermal array was installed atop Thorne Hall in June 2010. The array was then doubled in January 2011 when Bowdoin received another $50,000 grant, this time from the Efficiency Maine Trust and funded through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Thorne Hall serves 360,000 meals per year and is one of the largest users of water on campus, using an estimated 1.75 million gallons annually. The solar panels are seen as an important part of Bowdoin’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2020.
Bowdoin students and members of the Brunswick community can check out what kind of effect the solar panels are having by visiting Thorne Hall’s building dashboard. This site allows visitors to see total thermal use for a specific day, week, month, or even the whole year in a simple graph form. Viewers can even see how much money and pounds of CO2 have been saved thus far! Although it’s clear that much more thermal heat is generated during warmer months, as opposed to the cold winter months Maine is so famous for, the energy savings really add up. For example, this past April alone, 15,118 gallons of hot water were produced by the solar hot water system, while May and June yielded 12,817 gallons and 13,531 gallons, respectively. In total, the solar hot water system in Thorne has produced 71,023 gallons of hot water thus far this year (the equivalent of saving $2,654 or reducing 21,898 lbs of CO2).
Check out the dashboard site for yourself to see more energy details about Thorne Hall or other buildings on campus: http://www.buildingdashboard.net/bowdoin/#/bowdoin
In total, the solar hot water system in Thorne has produced 71,023 gallons of hot water thus far this year (the equivalent of saving $2,654 or reducing 21,898 lbs of CO2).