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Urban Solar Solutions Newsletter
March 2009 #1-a double issue of our newsletter
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In This Edition
Green Money: credits, grants and other incentives--March 22-REGISTRATION IS OPEN
Coming Workshops
Green Roofs Workshop--Sunday, March 8
Welcome to Urban Solar Solutions!   
 
This month looks like it will be the most exciting in our 2.5 years of existence.  Why?  Because so many opportunities have opened in the last few weeks for you, our customer!  Heres is a quick peak at the news at Urban Solar Solutions and in the region.

1) The Federal Stimulus package promised funds for alternative energy and energy efficiency home improvements and some have already made their way to state and local governments to support retrofitting homes like yours!  We have a program coming up on the 22nd on just this issue: Green Money, March 22, 2-4.  Sign up today at our www site.  Space is limited. 

2) An example of the many sources of Green Money is the DC Alternative Energy Grant program.  It has just been announced and it is very good news for those interested in solar and other alternative fuel for their homes, businesses or other buildings.  Up to $33,000 for a photovoltaic installation per home or business is available.  The property must be in Washington, DC.  See the article below.

3) we are growing!  A big welcome to Maria Paoletti!  Maria is helping in the many special projects Urban Solar has been invited to participate in in this region.  She hit the ground running by representing at the USS booth at the Green Affordable Housing & Jobs Forum: Protecting the Most Vulnerable While Expanding Washington's Green Economy on March 3rd.  Great event, great job, Maria! 

4)Energy Audit Referral Program is our newest service for this greening community!  As you know, to conserve is the first principle in green.  With some advice from a professional, you can max out on the energy efficiency of your property to save energy, money, time and effort.  Let us know if you need our help to find the right auditor for the building you have-be it a church or synagogue, a school or retail store, a row house or  a Sears house, we can help you find the right pro.  To get started email admin@urbansolarsolutions.com and put "Energy Auditor" in the subject line.
 
5) Our www site will soon carry several of our products.  We are working through the tech issues and will notify you by newsletter soon.
 
6) Bulk Orders.  For government purchasers, community groups, condo associations, religious congregations, schools and business-to-business sales only, email admin@urbansolarsolutions.com to apply for bulk ordering status and a catalogue of our products available for bulk orders. 
 
7) Look for us on Facebook and Twitter!
 
As you know, our mission is to help green the whole Chesapeake  Watershed and beyond.  And, going green saves you green.  Public service and public education is just part of what we do.  keep an eye on our www site to see how we will be looking out for you in these fast moving but exciting times.

Ellen McBarnette,
Urban Solar Solutions            

Green Money to help you reduce your energy bills and your taxes!
 
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What: Workshop
When: March 22nd, Sunday, 2-4pm
Where: Urban Solar Solutions, 4641 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, MD

It is hard to imagine that someone would actually give you money to help you to save money.  It is almost too good to be true.  Well, in this economic climate, that is just what is happening.
 
Why?  Because reducing fossil fuel use is good for all of us.  It improves the local environment, helps keep clean the region's air and water, reduces reliance on foreign powers, increases construction jobs in this down economy-to quote Martha, "It's a good thing!"
 
So now you know why so state, county, city and federal governmental jurisdictions and plenty of nonprofits are standing ready to give you free Green Money!!
 
The trick is that these offers will not last forever and you need to know where and how to find them.
 
To give you an idea of how much is available:
 
If you are a DC homeowner hoping to install a $99,000 solar electric system you may get as much as $33,000 from DC as a grant, $29, 700 from the federal government in the form of a tax credit.  In addition, the homeowner may sell renewable energy credits (a form of special credit for generating ones own energy that utilities are encouraged to purchase), as well as any excess electricity generated by her panels that she pumps back into the "grid."
 
A $99,000 dollar installation can fall to less than $30,000.   That means, she could spend $30,000 today for all the electricity she needs for the next 25 years.  In this day and age, when a single month $800 electric bills are showing up at the doors of single family homes, and rates are expected to continue to rise, you can imagine how beneficial such an installation could be.

There are funds available for green roofs, solar installation, Energy Star appliance purchases, energy auditing, and much more.   We will talk about finding funds, preparing applications and contacting funding sources.
 
Preregister strongly encouraged.
 
Note to Contractors and building professionals: We are holding a special workshop on this subject just for you on April 6, 2009.  See the next article in this newsletter.
Solar Oven plans free ware  Coming workshops-including Solar Cookoff

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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, on-line registration for April programs opens March 20th:
 
 On April 6, Calling all contractors!! We will have a special "Green Money" program for contractors, builders, architects and other building professionals.  We'll talk about tax incentives that come directly to builders (up to 1.80/square foot for some projects), as well as programs you can discuss with your clients.  We'll even touch on some great opportunities that you can position yourself or your firm  to take advantage of.  Note that this is a Monday late afternoon program.
 
On April 12, Come to learn about Bio-diesel!  A great carbon-neutral alternative fuel.   Green Guild Bio-diesel Cooperative, Adam Schwartz and guests will come to talk about this great alternative-energy source for transportation.  He'll also tell us a bit about the very innovative solar powered pre-fab building that the guild has made.  It once was a shipping container!
 
On April 19, we will have a free Solar Cooking demonstration!  We'll be cooking up something good so stop by and learn how easy solar cooking can be.  Pick up a cooker, a cookbook or plans for how to make your own.  And get ready for our Solar Cookoff in May!   It will be a fundraiser for SHE, Solar Household Energy, a nonprofit that sends solar ovens overseas to lesser developed countries.  Date, judges and prizes to be announced.
 
On April 20, we will have a Safe and Toxin-Free Mosquito Combat Workshop , just in time for the mosquito season!   Learn lessons on how to discourage mosquitos in your area, to layer protection indoor and out, to protect young children and to protect yourself.  Useful whether you use products containing Deet or not.
 
Also, portable energy is a great option for contractors and others who work out doors and are 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 are also planning another of our popular "Going Solar" programs for late April.

Also, remember that Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd! 

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.
Green Roofs Workshop-- March 8
 
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Green Roofs Workshop 3-08-09Green Roofs
 
We held our first Green Roofs workshop on the first nice day of March and it went very well! 
 
The presentation covered green roofs, their benefits, their installation and their maintenance.   They are not just beautiful, they insulate your home, last for up to 50 years or more and help to save the Chesapeake.
 
Sara Loveland, Interim Executive Director of DC Greenworks came and presented on the practical aspects of installing a green roof in the Washington, DC region. 
Sara Loveland is the Interim Executive Director of DC Greenworks, a nonprofit environmental concern based in Washington, DC that trains low-income youths and others to install green roofs.  Her group administers the DC grant program for green roofs. 
 
Her group has been installing roofs on residences, churches and more.   She had practical advice on how to cut the $30.00 per square foot average cost down to as little as $5.00 per square foot!   

 
Greg Long of Capital Greenroofs went into the nity grity of the technology.  He discussed waterproofing issues for different types of roofs, plant selection, soil depth and drainage.  Did you know you can install a green roof on a 6:12 pitch?  That you can install a vegetated mat over a barrel vault?  It really was quite informative.

 
By the way, if you would like some experience in green roof installation, DC Greenworks loves volunteers!  You can help install a green roof on a church or on a home in this region and get a sense of how one would look on your home or building!  Drop a line to volunteer@dcgreenworks.org.
 
More Spring Cleaning Special!!
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International Symbol for Recycling Spring is here and Urban Solar Solutions is ready to help you with your Spring Cleaning.  In particular, we have a great electronics recycling opportunity for you.  We have been working with Mitch Galen of Computers on Demand of Bethesda, MD, the independent Mac repair shop (note that in our last newsletter we identified his business as Mac Upgrades by accident.  They are great, too!).  He takes old computers, updates them and delivers them to charities in this area.  He has a particular concern about computer recycling.  His take on computer recycling:

'Computer Reuse and E-Cycling
 
Proper disposal of computers and related electronics is important for your safety and for the environment.
         Your old computer may still contain personal information hidden in its data storage. 
         Computer equipment is made of plastics, heavy metals and some toxic materials, none of which are biodegradable.
         Some materials in hardware are quite valuable, including gold and platinum, and should not be wasted. 
         Worse, their toxic components, such as lead, cadmium and mercury, can leach out onto soils, into streams and into ground water for many years. 
         Luckily, many computers can be reused in whole or in parts long after they no longer of value to their original owners.  Even a broken computer may still be worth something to somone since it likely contains some working parts, like a cd drive or a video card, that can be used to repair another computers. 
 
Responsible recyclers will take the time to strip valuable materials out of your old desk-top and recycle the cheaper components in an environmentally sensitive way.  This process is called "e-cycling."  In the case of [Computers on Demand], we strip old computers, permanently erase your sensitive data and provide the useful parts to charities in the DC area.   
 
For Montgomery County residents, an example of a local e-cycler is the Montgomery County Waste Transfer Station which is located at 16101 Frederick Road, Derwood MD 20855 (Route 355 just south of Shady Grove Road).  It accepts all computers, televisions, and electronic equipment including cell phones for e-cycling from its residents. For a complete list of what is accepted, you can click on this link  
 http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/dep/solidwaste/collectionservices/material_detail.asp?categoryID=19 
 
A Maryland company called E-Structors picks up all of the computers that Montgomery County residents and businesses have dropped off for e-cycling.  They then transport the computers to their 95,000 square foot e-cycling facility in Elkridge, Maryland where they process and remarket 100% of the materials they receive.  You can check out their website at www.e-shred.com.
 
Remember that most local e-cycling require personal drop offs, not curbside.  Note, that, In most of our local jurisdictions in this region, any computers, televisions or electronics that are put out on the curb will be treated as normal trash and will not be recycled.  So recycle responsibly!'
 
For the month of March you can drop off any brand of computer or computer related peripheral (not TVs) at Urban Solar Solutions.  We will work with Computers on Demand to see that they are not left in landfills as waste. 
 
Thanks, Mitch!!

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Urban Solar Solutions, LLC
retail at 
4641 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, MD 20781
Open W-F 10-5, Saturday 9-4
301 209 0011

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