Solar Workshop in our New Community Room

George and Woodie at the solar workshopOur NWS Community Room opened to the public for a “Going Solar” workshop on the evening of April 26, 2012.  Our first workshop featured Woodie Bessler of SIREN, assisted by Darrell Boggess. It was the first of many classes and events we hope to hold in the new Community Room.

Many thanks to our facilities team, Pete Kinne and Tom Sessa, for the beautiful job they did renovating the space, located behind the Near West Side store. Find the entrance next to the recycling center on the East side of the store, alongside the parking lot.

SIREN "Going Solar" workshops are designed to designed to help those who wish to shift their homes to clean energy. Questions are answered by local green energy experts. Attendees were invited to sign up for a free pre-assessment to determine the solar potential of their homes.

Bessler spoke about the costs, financial incentives, carbon savings, and other considerations for installing solar and geothermal systems. He explored various options, including solar water heaters, solar electric panels, and geothermal heating systems. There were lots of questions from the participants!

Our workshops can involve as many as 35 people, and this one was full. In fact, there were over 100 people interested in attending! We will be likely be holding more SIREN workshops in the future. SIREN, the Southern Indiana Renewable Energy Network, is a volunteer project of the Center for Sustainable Living.

“Going Solar” presenter Woodie Bessler is an Indiana native with a degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University. He moved to Bloomington six years ago with his wife Pam and their twins Clara and Emerson, making the decision to pursue a more sustainable lifestyle. In 2010, the Bessler family reduced their electrical consumption over 45%, winning the SIREN Energy Showdown. And yes, they still enjoy all the comforts of modern life! In 2011 the family installed a 3.5kW solar electric system—it harvests close to 100% of their electricity needs.