Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023
    Boulder Hosts Solar Conference Showcasing Energy-Efficient Technologies

    An electric motorcycle with a 100-mile range, energy-efficient windows, and a remote-controlled water recirculation pump were among the cutting-edge technologies on display at the 52nd annual American Solar Energy Society solar conference held at the University of Colorado Boulder.

    One of the highlights of the conference was an electric vehicle show and workshop, where Tobias Strohe showcased his own electric motorcycle. Strohe emphasized that his motorcycle can travel up to 120 miles before needing to be charged, making it a viable option for riders concerned about range issues.

    Strohe shared that he enjoys riding his motorcycle in the canyons near Nederland for a few hours at a time, and still has plenty of charge left when he returns home. He mentioned that on long road trips, he can fast-charge the motorcycle in just 40 minutes, allowing him to take breaks and grab food.

    In addition to electric vehicles, the conference also focused on energy-efficient technologies for homes. John Avenson, owner of Sustainable Architecture LLC, demonstrated the use of four-pane windows to prevent heat from escaping homes. Avenson also showcased a hot water recirculation pump that quickly delivers hot water to sinks and showers.

    Avenson suggested several best practices for energy efficiency, including getting an energy audit to identify air leakage, ensuring proper insulation thickness, and investing in tools like air particle detectors and CERV fresh air machines to monitor and improve indoor air quality.

    Bill Lucas, a co-founder of GB3 Energy and heat pump installer, discussed the advantages of heat pumps for home heating. He explained that heat pumps work by converting cool air into warm air, making them a more environmentally-friendly option compared to traditional heaters and air conditioners. Lucas also highlighted the importance of properly managing refrigerants, emphasizing their toxic impact on the environment.

    Sean Cunningham of Resolution Energy highlighted the significant energy consumption associated with water heating in homes and presented heat pump water heaters as a solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 81%. He noted that the installation costs of heat pump water heaters can be high without existing solar panels but suggested using a solar thermal system as a cost-effective alternative.

    Dave Ginley, a Research Fellow and Chief Scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, discussed the future of solar energy. He emphasized the increasing efficiency of silicone solar cells, which are being developed as tandems to achieve higher efficiency levels. Despite these advancements, Ginley noted that more policy support is needed in the United States to fully embrace solar energy and mitigate global warming.

    The conference provided a platform for experts to showcase the latest energy-efficient technologies and discuss their potential benefits for homes and transportation.