Solar Hot Water for Ellis School, Fremont NH

Volunteers help clear a spot for running PEX line which will distribute heat from a solar hot water system at the Ellis School in Fremont, NH

Students at the Ellis School in Fremont can now enjoy a longer growing season in their class greenhouse thanks to a new solar hot water system installed by volunteer power and consisting of donated and reduced cost materials from ReVision Energy and SEAREI.

The system consists of two solar hot water collectors, a storage tank, and a circulating loop that moves solar-heated water throughout the space. Simple in design, the system should help the school get a winter crop of lettuce by January and several vegetables planted by early March.

The Union Leader writes:

John Hermann, the school’s seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher who oversees the greenhouse and has worked closely with ReVision Energy and SEAREI on the project, will tie the system into the planting beds with help from students.

Hermann, an organic farmer who enjoys sharing his skills with the school community, uses the greenhouse to give students a hands-on gardening experience. They plant the seeds and care for the vegetables with his help. Students also hold plant sales and are making garlic powder for the school’s kitchen. Hermann hopes the winter lettuce crop can be used in salads. “It’s exciting. There’s really good community support,” he said. “I try to make sure all the kids get out here. Some kids don’t have gardens. They’ve never eaten a tomato and never eaten broccoli off a stalk.”

Read the full article here: 2012-09-26-Ellis-School-School.pdf (PDF)

SEAREI is a NH-based nonprofit that uses a “barn raiser” approach to renewable energy approach, helping to organize volunteer installers to install solar projects.  Several SEAREI volunteers, plus Ellis School staff, and ReVision staffers, volunteered to install this solar hot water system.  Additional funds for the project were supplied by a $5,000 grant from Lowe’s “Toolbox for Education” program.