Lansing Communergy, a group of Lansing residents organized by Sustainable Tompkins, has been meeting since last August to explore various types of locally-owned renewable energy systems.  This spring they are hosting a series of public lectures on solar hot water, microhydro systems, and reducing household electricity usage prior to sizing a solar electric system.

My Solar Hot Water PanelsTheir first event was Tuesday, March 25, from 7-9 pm at the Lansing Community Center (25 Auburn Road).  Joe Sliker of Renovus Energy covered the topic of converting domestic hot water systems to solar energy. One of the easiest and lowest cost ways to go solar, the systems collect heat year-round to drastically reduce the fossil fuel energy used by your water heater.  Workshop attendees are eligible for a group discount.

On Saturday, May 3, we will host a lecture and site visit on microhydro systems from 12:30-5:00 pm.  We’ll begin with a brown bag lunch at the Lansing Community Center featuring Professor Phil Hofmeyer of the Renewable Energy Training Center at SUNY Morrisville.  Phil and his students have installed 4 microhydro systems in Madison County, and have several more underway.   After the lecture and Q&A session on the basics of microhydro systems, we will tour two potential sites on Gulf Creek and two sites in the Salmon Creek watershed near Ludlowville.

The final workshop on Tuesday, May 27 (7-9 pm at the Lansing Community Center) will explore how to reduce electricity consumption through conservation and efficiency measures before investing in a solar electric (PV) system.  Solar panel prices are lower than ever and incentives and tax credits remain high, so this is a great time to get off fossil fuels for your home electric needs.  However, it would be wasteful to spend more money and consume more natural resources than necessary to provide lighting and power to your appliances using solar energy.  This workshop will feature Cheryl Shields of Friedman Electric to share the latest in LED lighting, and Gay Nicholson of Sustainable Tompkins on reducing phantom load and switching to high efficiency equipment.