Going Solar and Braving the Cold
On the coat tails of my last couple of blog posts, which addressed the issue of environmentally friendly building techniques for self-storage, I read a news item in the Novato (Calif.) Advance about a facility gone solar. North Bay Self Storage and Southpoint Lofts (a multi-use property containing storage and offices) has just completed the installation of a SolarCraft 35kW solar-electric system, which will meet 85 percent of the 78,000-square-foot building's electrical needs. According to the article, the system will pay for itself in approximately six years—not bad.
The facility's managing partners, Gary Arnstein and Robert Curtis, have indicated their choice in system is a "socially conscious statement," and their investors "have a commitment to using sustainable energy sources." Bravo! Arnstein specifically said "It's the right action to take given the environmental crisis that our planet is in the midst of." It gives me hope that a fraction of the population understands this.
Here are a few more fun facts about the solar-electric system, provided by the Novato Advance author:
- The solar-energy system used by North Bay will enable the facility to produce enough electricity each day that it could power 10 average homes.
- Over the course of a year, the functionality of the system will roughly equivalate the air-filtering capability of 7.6 acres of trees, preventing the dispersement of 60 tons of harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
- The air pollution avoided as a result of the system over the next 30 years will approximate that produced by vehicles driving more than 4.1 million miles.
In separate but related news, a frozen pipe flooded units and damaged stored property at A-Plus Storage in Haverhill, Mass., this week. Tenants are obviously frustrated to hear the facility isn't liable.
I say this is related to the above information about solar energy for semi-obvious reasons: The more damage we do the planet, the more severe our climate will become. Bursting pipes is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. It's an issue of great concern for the global community, not storage operators alone.
As an industry, we have a responsibility to do our share of caring for the environment; and "green" technologies are a way of fulfilling that commitment. Those of you building or remodeling facilities should consider this seriously when weighing costs against future outcomes.
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