It might sound a little lofty, but we see ourselves as more than just the manpower behind some of Long Island’s most effective sustainability projects. Planning, installation, construction — we’re proud of all we do before our partners snip the ribbon. But truthfully, we see ourselves as solar educators, too.
So many of the renewable opportunities we see in the field have come about due to our clients’ willingness to educate themselves and seek out the places — big and small — where they can make a difference. So when the opportunity to work with Pierce Country Day School arrived, we jumped at the chance to work with educators of a similar mindset.
A forward-thinking tradition
Draped across the mural-like landscapes of Roslyn, NY, Pierce Country Day School serves as one of the region’s most highly regarded private preschools and multi-generational summer camps.
Going green wasn’t the issue. PCDS approached us about going greener. For years, PCDS had set the example for its campers by stocking their store closets with exclusively green cleaning products and recyclable paper items. And as anyone with children will tell you, keeping a renewable mindset with one around the house (let alone hundreds) is no small feat.
The size of the PCDS campus alone reflected their ambitions: With 10 commercially-rated electric demand meters sprawled across the area, energy costs remained consistently high, but administrators began to wonder if there could be a way to change that.
PCDS camp director Will Pierce first engaged us with an idea: His nearby home was entirely heated and cooled from a geothermal source. Could he do something similar at the Day School? Alternatively, were there any pathways to a more sustainable way of life that reflected both his and the community’s growing appetite for renewable applications?
When our CTO, J-P Clejan, met with Will, the solution quickly presented itself.
With acres of sunlit greenspace throughout the property, the potential for solar power appeared almost limitless. While past generations of camp leadership may not have been as keen on the integration of solar power due to aesthetic concerns, Will’s vision was bigger and brighter.
In 2019, we set to work with Will in drawing up the plans for a solar-optimized roof. Together, we identified key areas where PCDS could collect and employ the most available sunlight, arriving at the south-facing rooftop on the campus clubhouse. Designing a low-profile, high-yield schematic, the all-black system took the place of shingling, almost immediately seeing returns in both their energy costs and carbon footprint.
By 2020, PCDS had fully integrated their solar collection into their energy mix, projecting the displacement of roughly 1.8 million pounds of carbon emissions over the course of its minimum 30-year lifespan. If that weren’t enough, PCDS also saw a significant reduction in their energy bills campus-wide, using a remote metering program to share the solar system’s output across all of its meter-gauged zones.
The quick success has opened doors for both PCDS and ourselves, as we continue to explore sustainable additions to their grounds. Discussions around future roof replacements, renovations, and potential expansions for the current solar power system are all well underway.
We look forward to working with Will and his team as their programs return to normal, post-pandemic operations.