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October 10, 2008

Swannanoa installs solar panels to heat water

solar panels at camp
Solar panels will heat water for the new staff house at Swannanoa 4-H Camp. (Photo courtesy of Maggie Hedge)

Staff members working at Swannanoa 4-H Camp next summer will get their hot water without the help of electricity or natural gas. In September, solar panels for heating water were installed on the new staff house at the camp, located near Asheville.

The idea of solar water heating came from a committee of Extension agents and program assistants who were asked to develop a plan for Swannanoa.

After meeting for several months the group came up with four primary objectives for Swannanoa, one of which was "to promote new and emerging technologies." When the plans for the new staff house were being proposed, the group suggested incorporating some new technologies, and the solar hot water system was one technology that fit.

Committee members included: Ken Kindley, retired 4-H agent; Larry Hancock, 4-H camping specialist, Linda Semon, 4-H program assistant; Wallace Simmons, Heather Gordon and Eve Kindley, 4-H agents; and John Vining, Polk County Extension director.

"The overall goal is to have an opportunity to teach our 4-H summer campers about renewable energy," Vining said. "While we will continue to use fossil fuels, alternative energy sources such as solar will help us conserve our limited oil supplies in a clean and less costly manner."

Incidently, Swannanoa is encouraging campus departments to try out the new solar hot water by renting the staff house for in-service trainings or a departmental retreat. To learn more, contact Maggie Hedge, 828.686.3196, for details.

Posted by Natalie at October 10, 2008 03:36 PM