Animal Shelter Goes Solar
The Silicon Valley Human Society’s new animal shelter is using solar modules to produce about 30-40 percent of its electricity. 1,335 photovoltaic modules comprise a 274-kilowatt solar parking shade structure and rooftop solar system. Tioga Energy owns and operates the power system. It is estimated that the installation will save $50,000 in energy costs. The Humane Society was able to have the solar technology installed with no capital outlay, due to an agreement with Tioga to purchase the power from them. The shelter’s president, Christine Benninger said, “Today, our Animal Community Center not only promotes animals, but also showcases the ease and beauty of energy efficiency, water saving, and building in harmony with nature.”
The animal shelter has additional green features. It was built with concrete from an existing structure and used about 90 percent of the previous material. This measure reduced the amount of new concrete that needed to be purchased.
The organization also takes green measures when it comes to taking care of the animals. A kennel cleaning system that requires only 2.2 gallons of water per minute reduces water consumption, while making sure animals have hygienic spaces. Overall, the facility uses 45 percent less water than comparable shelters. Artificial turf is used in dog exercise and park areas in order to reduce water consumption required for natural grass.
Seventy-five percent of the building uses natural light to reduce electrical bills. They feel that natural light is healthier and better for the happiness and wellbeing of the workers and animals. Occupancy sensors manage indoor lighting; if a room is unoccupied, lights automatically turn off. Also Energy Star appliances are used to reduce energy for washing and drying clothing, towels and rags.
The landscaping uses native plants which require less water, and uses bioswales which collect rainwater and clean it before it moves into the public water treatment system.
Image Credit: Jeremy Levine Design