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Urban Solar Solutions Newsletter
February 2009 #1
In This Edition
Going Solar Workshop--February 22--sign up today
Welcome to Urban Solar Solutions!   
How much was your last electric bill last month?  $50? $300? $600? $1,000?!
Every day we hear the news that times are hard. Worst in a generation.  It makes me think of my grandmother, she came to the US just in time for the Great Depression.   Well, she really knew how to conserve.  I remember now how she would make a pie with apples, use the cores for apple butter and the peels for apple jelly.   What little was left she would toss on the garden soil.

So, as scary as the economic news may be, we are really lucky today: we have the lessons of our grandparents who went through the Depression to help us avoid this one.  We know we can conserve, save, reuse and avoid waste. 

We at Urban Solar Solutions are here to help you along the way.  As you know, being on our mailing list, we are a green store in the Hyattsville, MD area, just outside of Washington, DC.  All our products save energy, reduce pollution or assist in saving the Chesapeake.  We have rain barrels to save rain water, energy saving L.E.D. bulbs and cost efficient tubular sky-lights.  Come on by and check us out!
Also, starting February 15, our solar powered attic fans and tubular skylights will be available on our www site.
Up coming workshops include a second of out popular "Going Solar" workshops on the 22nd of this month.  More information is below or come to our www site to register, www.urbansolarsolutions.com.
Ellen McBarnette,
Urban Solar Solutions            

Going Solar Workshop--February 22--Sign up today!
Solar Panel in urban setting
A second of our popular intro to solar workshop
Where:  Urban Solar Solutions, 4641 Tanglewood Drive (in the Community Forklift Building), Edmonston, MD 20781
When:   February 22, 2009  2-4pm
Fee: $30.00
Learn about going solar from the experts: The decisions you will need to be prepared to make. What types of solar power are available and estimate for cost and ROI. How to select an installer. How to prepare your home for going solar. We will also introduce you to some of the many federal, state, local and private funding sources available. Whether for a few hundred dollars for a passive solar installation or many thousands for a full grid-tied PV, thermal and HVAC replacement system, this workshop will help you prepare to save money, time and (your) energy.
Our experts that day will be Dave Brosch of Green Homes Blue Sky, LLC and Keith Winston of Earth Sun Energy Systems. 
Dave is an Energy Star Contractor and RESNET certified, He has been performing energy audits and repairs for over 5 years. A former building inspector for the city of Baltimore, Dave brings a wealth of experience in addressing the energy issues of old homes.
Keith Winston is the founder of Earth Sun Energy Systems, a solar installer based in Takoma, MD.  A HERS rated energy consultant and a NABCEP certified solar installer with degrees in physics, economics, and conservation biology, he consults on the energy efficiency and renewable energy aspects of building projects, with a primary focus on residential projects through out the region.  He brings 20 years experience as a contractor in the Washington, DC area to us on Sunday to discuss how to chose the proper solar installation for your home and how to select a contractor to perform the installation. 
Tax Time the best time to go Green and SAVE!
It is Tax season and many of us will have refunds coming our way.   If you are one of the lucky ones, how about using that refund to save energy or make energy saving changes in your home?   It is a great way to maximize your refund by locking in savings for years to come.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Change incandescent light bulbs to energy saving compact florescent or LEDs.  Cost: average between $3.00 and $70.00 dollars.  Savings: Up to $353.25 per bulb in the first 60,000 hours.  Ask for our Lighting fact sheet for more information.
  • Install an energy saving tubular skylight in that dark corner above the top landing or in the upstairs bath or a similar area in your home.  Cost: as little as $525.00 installed.  Savings: up to $612 dollars over the first 7 years.  
How about making a larger investment in you future savings?  Going solar?  Saving energy with a green roof?  Saving water with a rain barrel?  Now is the time to plan for a greener future! 

Solar Oven plans free ware  Coming workshops-including Solar Cookoff

Over the next several months we at Urban Solar Solutions will be holding workshops like our popular "Going Solar" program.  Below is an early look at several in the works:
March 3, 2009  Green Roofs 
Come learn about the many benefits to your home, your energy bill and the Chesapeake from simple no-maintenance waterproof vegetated roofing panels and how to get grant money to help pay it. 

March 22, 2009 Green Money for Homeowners
Learn how the Stimulous Plan signed on Tuesday may help you green your home.  Learn about the latest energy efficiency tax changes, grant programs and other sources of funds for improving your home.  From federal incentives to state grants to private foundation funds, we will run down some of the biggest and best programs and give you tips on how to gain access to assistance available to every income level. 
In April, Learn about bio-diesel and other green personal transportation options.  Also, portable energy is a great option for contractors and others who work out doors and on the go.  We'll have a free program on some of the latest battery systems, solar generators and, even, bike generators with tips on how to incorporate them into your business.   We'll also be holding another  "Going Solar" program.

In May, look out for our first ever Solar Cookoff.   Purchase  a solar oven now to start perfecting your best recipes or make your own.  Urban Solar Solutions carries ovens and magazines and books on how to cook with the sun.  Funds will be raised to support Solar Household Energy, Inc., the nonprofit corporation that supplies solar ovens for inPrizes to be announced. 

All the programs will be at the Urban Solar Solutions store at 4641 Tanglewood Drive, Hyattsville, MD 20781.  For details or to register go to www.urbansolarsolutions.com or call 301 209 0011 during business hours.

Saving electricity  tip from Google-Knowledge is power
This week Google, the web information powerhouse, has announced its interest in power cost monitoring and the smart metering market.  it will be checking if it can set up a web protocol for smart metering in the future.

Studies have shown that access to home energy information in real time can save the consumer 5 to 15 percent on their monthly electricity bills. If half of America's households cut their energy consumption by 10 percent it would be the equivalent of taking eight million cars off the road, says Google.

Power cost monitors are devices that track your electric use by the hour and report the information in a useable manner to you.  Urban Solar Solutions carries The Energy Detective, an award wining brand of power cost monitors that allow for computer tracking of your energy use, thus empowering you to make what changes you deem necessary, today.

Smart meters are meters designed for two way radio communication between your utility company and your home meter.  it would allow the utility to better track your usage and to restrict or allow increased use in response to market pressures.   While it may sound a bit "Big Brother"-ish, a la 1984, smart meters actually may pose an excellent way to save on your electric bills and to allow continued economic growth without an increase in the number of power plants.  They are being tested in this region right now but will not be ready for the market before 2011, according to the experts.

Spring Cleaning Special!!
International Symbol for Recycling Spring will soon have sprung and Urban Solar Solutions is ready to help you with your Spring Cleaning.  In particular, we have been researching recycling ideas for you.  Here are our faves:

1) Computers and related items: For the months of February and March, during business hours, bring your old computers, communications electronics, cords, modems or peripherals and through an agreement with Mac Upgrades of Bethesda, Maryland, we will donate the useable portions of
to be revamped for needy families in the region.  Mac Upgrades, a computer repair shop specializing in Apple computers, has already provided over 130 Apple computers to families in suburban Maryland but will accept Windows based operating system computers as well.  This is for a limited time and we will not accept TVs.  Anything we do accept will be used or properly recycled afterwards.

2) Styrofoam (also known as polystyrene or #6 plastic) is one of the hardest materials to recycle properly-most recycling programs do not accept polystyrene in any condition.  However, we have located a Styrofoam recycling information source based in Crofton, Maryland.  They will accept Styrofoam by shipment or by drop off if you make an appointment. 

Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers-
1298 Cronson Boulevard, Suite 201
Crofton, MD 21114 USA
(410)451-8340 (phone)
(410)451-8343 (fax)
Their www site is: http://www.epspackaging.org/info.html

While it is best to reduce or reuse, recycling is getting easier, even for things that are not taken by your city or town's recycling program.   There is a green way to get rid of almost everything.  From busted concrete to aluminum foil, from old barbed wire to plastic sippy cups, chances are there is some recycler in this region that will take your throw-aways for recycling.  To learn more go to: http://earth911.com.

Looking for more information, have a comment? A suggestion?  Email us by clicking HERE.
Urban Solar Solutions, LLC
4641 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, MD 20781
Open W-F 10-5, Saturday 9-4
301 209 0011


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