In this week's newsletter: S1 at large in Colombia, panelists announced for the next Clean EC, 10 years of climate change in 7 charts  and much more!
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S1 at Large: The Colombia Solar Decathlon

We're proud as can be that Solar One Educator Amy Colorado participated in the most recent Solar Decathlon Latin America & Caribbean in Colombia. Read on to hear all about her experience in her own words:

I was invited to participate in this year’s Solar Decathlon Latin America & Caribbean in Cali, Colombia as a guest judge for the “Communication, Marketing and Social Awareness” competition. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon is a collegiate event of 10 different competitions that challenge university student teams to design and build full-size, functional solar-powered houses. The Decathlon serves as an intensive learning experience for the participating students in areas of sustainability, architecture, engineering, energy efficiency, and water conservation. This year the participating students had the added challenge of designing a climate resilient home that would hypothetically function in the city of Buenaventura - a city plagued by rising sea levels and poverty. Alongside me in the Communications jury were Cristina Cardona, a Bogota-based published author and communications expert, and Stacy Hunt, the sponsorship manager for the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. 

For a week in December, I learned about the 9 different university teams competing in the Decathlon and was able to see their years of work come to fruition as they opened their solar homes to the public. It was striking to see the student’s creativity and initiative come together as they designed and built these homes on their own within 3 weeks time. All the homes incorporated impressive sustainable strategies, from using recycled Tetra-pak as insulation to building their own bricks from recycled paper and cement. The Decathlon was open daily to the public at the Universidad del Valle in Cali. Everyday hundreds of visitors came through to experience the homes of the future and then stayed for the provided nighttime entertainment. Cali, being most well known for its salsa music, did not fail to bring dance and great energy to the Solar Decathlon.  

Beyond my two days of active judging as part of the Communications competition, I was able to share some of Solar One’s work with visitors, educators, and children. On December 12th, I led a workshop with some local educators titled “Sustainability Initiatives for the City & State.” During the workshop I shared New York City’s sustainability goals and how Solar One and the Department of Education are working to expand solar energy. Participants experienced what it would be like as a student in a Solar One program by doing various hands-on experiments about solar energy and energy storage from our Green Design Lab curriculum. To ensure that the educators could implement this new knowledge in their classrooms, they were provided with translated copies of the activities reviewed and were able to provide their contact information to receive access to our full online Green Design Lab curriculum. 

On December 14th, 50 children from a severely disadvantaged community in Cali were brought to the Solar Decathlon for a private tour and science workshop with me. I guided the children, ages 4-15, through various interactive activities from our Green Design Lab curriculum to learn about electricity, circuits, solar energy, and the importance of energy storage. The children were overjoyed to be able to use solar panels, wires, motors, and lights to build their own circuits. Despite never having learned about circuits before, the children were fast learners and by the end of our workshop they were even able to use a multimeter to measure their electrical output! After harnessing our solar energy, we had a discussion about the importance of energy storage, especially when working with an intermittent source of energy like the sun. The children were each able to design their own aluminum air battery to showcase how we can design and build a more sustainable efficient battery.  

Of my entire trip to Colombia, the most rewarding part was the hours I spent with the group of local youth exploring solar energy. The feedback I received from the group, most notably the girls, was profoundly inspiring as they expressed new confidence and interest in science. The children were shocked that everything they learned and the fun experiments they did independently were considered science. Our Solar One activities and approach to learning was so different than what they had experienced in their schools that the youth couldn’t identify it as STEM education. To wrap up our workshop, we donated some circuit materials to the group leaders to ensure that they could take what they learned back to their community and keep exploring solar energy. 

Panelists Announced for Next Clean Energy Connections Panel Discussion

The next Clean Energy Connections panel discussion (and the first for 2020) is happening on January 27, and will focus on energy storage. Doors open at 6:30pm, and tickets start at just $15.
 

Energy storage will play a critical role in New York City’s transition from fossil fuel electricity generation to clean, renewable resources, many of which are intermittent. In addition to enabling our transition to a clean energy supply mix, energy storage can help replace dirty "peaker" power plants and provide emergency backup power, improving public health and community resilience in the face of increasingly frequent extreme weather events.

Many understand the importance of energy storage, but few understand the current state of energy storage in New York. Join us for a lively panel discussion among experts from Con Edison, City and State agencies, and the private sector about energy storage in the Empire State. Learn how energy storage is being integrated in New York City today, and how the public and private sector are accelerating storage deployment in America's largest city. Hear how energy storage applications are being designed and executed with the complimentary goals of accelerating our transition to clean energy, improving public health in environmental justice communities, and strengthening community resilience. Listen as experts debate the greatest barriers and opportunities in New York's emerging energy storage market.

Agenda:

6:30 - Doors open

7:00 - Panel discussion

8:30 - Networking

Monday January 27th
WNYC Greene Space
44 Charlton Street at Varick Street

10 Years of Climate Change in 7 Charts

The past 10 years have been the hottest ever recorded. With floods, fires and new records being set all over the globe, it's pretty clear to most of us that climate change isn't just going to be a problem for future generations; it's a problem for Earthlings who are living here right now. So what does the climate data about the past decade tell us about where we are, and where we're heading?

In this article from Grist.org, you can check out seven charts that describe the trends of climate change and give us a clue about what could happen next. Some of the trends are very alarming- more emissions, with the numbers rising faster than ever, for example- and some are hopeful, like the fact that more people than ever accept the basics of climate science: That the climate is warming up precipitously compared top historic norms, and  that human activity is the cause.

And for those skeptics who say, "Well, the temperatures on Earth have changed before", please direct them to this great visualization of the past 20,000 years of planetary temperatures from Randall Munroe, creator of the web comic/science blog xkcd.com. Sometimes a great graphic design is the most powerful argument!

 

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Solar One Events

We currently have no upcoming events scheduled. See you in the Spring!

Upcoming Events

1/11
E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: St. Albans
Farmer's Boulevard, 113-43 Farmer's Boulevard bet Murdock Ave & 113th Rd, Queens, 10am-4pm, free

1/12
E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Flushing
Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street bet Crommelin St & Peck Ave, Queens, 10am-4pm, free

Volunteer Landscaping at the Ridgewood Reservoir
Ridgewood Reservoir, 58-2 Vermont Place bet Highland Blvd & Jackie Robinson Pkwy, Queens, 10am-1pm, free

1/14
Contracts That Promote Building Performance
NYC Bar Association, 42 West 44th Street bet 5th & 6th Aves, Manhattan, 6-8pm, $40 general admission/$25 Urnam Green & Bar Association members

1/15
Manhattan Community Board 1: Environmental Protection Committee
Community Room, 6 River Terrace bet Murray & Vesey Sts, Manhattan, 6-8pm, free

UGC Emerging Professionals January Happy Hour
Juke Bar, 196 Second Avenue bet E. 13th & E. 14th Sts, Manhattan, 6-8pm, $10 general admission/$5 Urban Green members

Climate Mobilization Act Series: Grades, Codes & Limits
Building Energy Exchange, 31 Chambers Street, Suite 609, bet Elk & Centre Sts, Manhattan, 9-10:30am, free

1/16
Community Board 3: Parks, Recreation, Waterfront, & Resiliency Committee
30 Delancey Street bet Forsyth & Christie Sts, Manhattan, 6:30-8:30pm, free

1/17
Hidden Ecologies: Assessing the Use and Stewardship of Urban Waterfronts
LuEsther T. Mertz Library, 2900 Southern Boulevard at Xavier Way, Bronx, 11am-12pm, free

Passive House Primer at BE-Ex
Building Energy Exchange, 31 Chambers Street, Suite 609, bet Elk & Centre Sts, Manhattan, 12:30-1:30pm, free
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