Grothouse, a premier manufacturer of custom-built wood counters, has completed installation of a solar energy system for their new manufacturing facility in Northwestern Lehigh County. The solar system project, which was designed and installed by Dynamic Solar, LLC of Conshohocken, PA, was completed on December 2, 2009.
The system is composed of 78 fixed photovoltaic solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity. The panels are installed on the Southern-facing roof of Grothouse’s newly-completed eco-friendly manufacturing facility. The facility, which supplements an existing 20,000 square-foot building, will allow Grothouse to increase manufacturing capacity to address growing customer demand.
The building is situated to maximize the amount of sunlight collected by the solar panels throughout the day. The 18.33kW solar system will produce approximately 30% of Grothouse Lumber’s annual energy usage.
“This project is good for the surrounding community, the environment and our business,” stated owner Paul Grothouse. “We’ve worked to source our raw materials from responsible providers, so it’s only natural for us to implement a system that furthers our commitment to working in conjunction with the environment.”
According to the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association, the system will reduce Grothouse’s carbon dioxide emissions by 17 tons per year, or the equivalent of 2.8 cars per year. The reduction would be the same as the amount of carbon sequestered by a 3.5 acre forest each year.
In conjunction with the solar system, the additional facility has been designed using a range of energy-efficient materials and systems intended to reduce energy usage.
Highly efficient pre-formed insulated concrete forms, or ICFs have been used to construct the exterior walls of the building. The ICFs feature an insulation rating of R50 to minimize potential heat loss and reduce both cooling and heating costs. The resulting heating requirements for the 12,000 square foot building are equivalent to those necessary to heat a 2,500 square foot home.
In addition, wood scraps produced during the manufacturing process will be used to operate a radiant heat system circulating throughout the facility. Remaining sawdust produced at the facility is donated to local livestock farmers for use as animal bedding.