HEARTWOOD FOLK SCHOOL
for Sustainability & Resilience


2014 – 2015 Sustainable Energy Use CLASSES

To add to our previous energy teachings (see 2. on home page), Heartwood Folk School has been offering new 2015 and 2014 sustainable energy use classes (below), and has released an updated Pender Energy Research Report.  This is supported by grants from the Capital Regional District, Vancity, and the Pender Legion.  You can see our energy references and also check back for more classes in future!

**** SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2015 (Community Hall upstairs)

11:00 am to 12:15 pm – Do-It-Yourself SOLAR HOT WATER (SOLAR THERMAL)

Our visiting expert is Steve Abbott of Salt Spring Island – a retired Mechanical Engineer with experience installing and working on various solar thermal systems (for creating home hot water from the sun, instead of from increasingly expensive electricity).  This includes Steve’s knowledge of do-it-yourself and professional installations, in Ontario and British Columbia, and both 3-season and year-round designs.  The first purpose of the May 9 class is for him to talk about effective, efficient, solar hot water systems that island people with sufficient knowledge could potentially install themselves.  The second purpose of the class is to answer people’s questions about systems or components they are considering installing or building themselves, or that they already have.  WARNING: important SAFETY, INSURANCE and PERMIT ISSUES APPLY, to be discussed during the class.  The class fee at the door is $5 per person (kids with parents or adults on a budget are welcome for free).  To help us plan, please pre-register if you can (info@heartwoodfolkschool.ca).

REFERENCES:  Solar site analysis, solar hot water self-builds (MANY CAUTIONS!), a sample ready-to-install system, and flat panel vs. evacuated tube systems.

**** SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2015 (Community Hall upstairs)

12:45 pm to 2:00 pm – Do-It-Yourself HOME PASSIVE SOLAR, and HEAT RECOVERY

After a half-hour break following the first class above, retired Mechanical Engineer Steve Abbott will offer another class with a do-it-yourself focus.  To begin with, he will discuss and show photos of passive solar house modifications that he`s utilized with his own residence (which was part of a previous Salt Spring Eco-Living & Home tour).  This includes particular insulation, shading, and window exposure options.  Secondly, Steve will discuss the home heat recovery ventilator system that he designed and patented with a friend, and that has a modified do-it-yourself version.  Many of our homes are now more tightly-sealed (to avoid heat loss), but we still need ventilation systems, ideally involving recovery of outgoing heat that would otherwise be lost.  WARNING: important SAFETY, INSURANCE and PERMIT ISSUES APPLY, to be discussed during the class.   The May 9 class fee at the door is $5 per person ($10 for both of the foregoing classes; kids with parents or adults on a budget are welcome for free).  To help us plan, please pre-register if you can (250-629-3825 or info@heartwoodfolkschool.ca).

REFERENCES:  See here re: solar site analysis, a tool for modeling the sun’s effect on your house, and some passive solar basics.


**** SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2015 (Community Hall upstairs)

12:00 noon to 1:00 pm – PRACTICAL SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAICS – Sample Installation & Creating your own Small Solar PV Home Back-Up System

What “Small Back-Up System” means is 1 solar photovoltaic panel, 1 large battery, and connecting devices such as a charge controller and inverter (see below for samples from our class).  Then when the power goes out, you have a source of electricity to power LED lights instead of candles, your radio, charging of small device batteries, and potentially running a freezer (if you add other large batteries).  It’s true, you could just charge your back-up system with house current before power failures.  However, it’s more resilient, sustainable, educational and fun to do charging and re-charging with your own solar PV panel.

For the March 15 class, our teacher is longtime solar expert Dave Neads of the non-profit GabEnergy (www.gabenergy.com).  Dave will pop over to the Hall from Pender Recycling, where he’ll be helping the volunteers of the Pender Island Solar Initiative (PISI 2020) to install 39 solar PV panels!  Dave will briefly review his solar PV intro from our November 1 class, explain the Recycling installation, and then discuss Small Solar PV Back-Up Systems.  The class fee at the door is $5 (kids with parents or adults on a budget free).  To help us plan, please pre-register if you can (info@heartwoodfolkschool.ca).

POST-CLASS UPDATE & REFERENCES:  For the 40 Penderites who came out to learn about solar PV, remember firstly to reduce your electricity consumption!  Secondly, figure out IF you have enough sun for even one Solar Photovoltaic panel or module.  Thirdly, you can see Equipment for a SMALL SOLAR PV BACK-UP SYSTEM, sample solar photovoltaic panel and high quality battery specs, and Info about OTHER do it yourself Battery Back-Up Systems.  See more solar material at our energy references, tips and skills!


*** SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2014 (Community Hall)
– SEE POSTER for times

12:00 noon – Solar Thermal & Photovoltaics – Intro to New Options & Incentives

2:00 pm – Heat Pump, Wind, Water, & Geothermal Energy – Intro to Local Options

NEW, before the classes:  If you can’t attend the above, you could meet 2 of our 4 teachers at a Browning Pub “Energy Chat” on Friday, October 31 (7 pm).  Experts Dave Neads of GabEnergy and Ian Gartshore of Shore Energy will be there, for us to pick their brains.

Then the next day, Saturday, November 1, 2014 (Community Hall upstairs) are the 2 classes listed above, starting at 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm.  Each class is $5 payable at the door ($10 for both).  Children/youth with a parent, or adults on a budget, are welcome for free.  Please pre-register with Zorah Staar (by email or 250-629-3825). 

The goal is introductory presentations and practical question-answering about what Pender people and organizations could actually do here, with sustainable energy technology and changing how we live.  The teachers for November 1 are: Thomas Teuwen of Camosun Solar/Blue Sky (www.camosunsolar.ca) re: solar thermal/solar hot water; David Neads of the non-profit GabEnergy re: solar photovoltaics and heat pumps (www.gabenergy.com); Ian Gartshore of Shore Energy Systems (www.shoreenergy.ca) re: a “sun pump” hybrid system and also home upgrades such as better insulation, draftproofing, windows, etc.; and Zorah Staar of Heartwood re: the Pender Energy Research Report (updated in October, 2014).

November 1 will include info on the CRD’s new time-limited incentive, i.e. 33% of the cost of eligible solar thermal systems by registered installers (see www.crd.bc.ca/solar ASAP).

REFERENCES:  See our energy references, tips, and skills, and the images below:

* solar hot water (1st image courtesy of Pacific Solar Smart, www.camosunsolar.ca);
* a grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) microinverter system (2nd image courtesy of www.gabenergy.com).