We are excited to report that the Sacred Earth Lodge is now hosting groups and workshops! Thanks to generous donors like you, we have been able to open the doors to this one-of-a-kind training facility and provide Native American students with a beautiful and comfortable learning space. The new Lodge is a great addition to the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) and offers our Tribal Renewable Energy Program room to grow into a more impactful program for Native American communities. Here are some exciting updates since our last report was published:
Solar Heating System Installed at the Sacred Earth Lodge
As we mentioned in the last report, we planned to use your generous donations to help install a solar hot water heater at the new Lodge. Well, we are excited to report that the new system was installed in early February and it is running great! We heard from our friend Specter, who donated his time and renewable energy background to install the system, a few weeks after the installation was completed: "I performed checks and maintenance on the new system. Not only was the building quite a bit warmer than the outside air temperature, it also felt good. So good, that I ran around checking the electric baseboards installed in the bedrooms and bathrooms, thinking that they might by cranked up. But they were all turned down. The solar thermal was carrying the heat load of the building all on its own."
First Native Student from Alaska
We used the installation of the new solar hot water heater as an opportunity for learning and training. This was the first time we had taught a course on solar hot water systems and also the first time we had a student from Alaska visit RCREC! Elmer Melton is from the Noorvik Native Community in Noorvik, Alaska. Elmer describes himself as “a miser in energy use” and has had experience with energy conservation programs in his community. In his application, he said he “would like to learn how to make hot water with renewable energy sources” so he can share this knowledge with his native community. With fuel costs being so high in his community, Elmer is eager to learn about clean, renewable energy alternatives. It was great to have the Lodge open for Elmer!
Henry Red Cloud Honored by White House
On Thursday, April 17, our Tribal Program Partner and co-manager of the Sacred Earth Lodge was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for his efforts to promote and expand solar deployment in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Congrats to Henry!
Training Season Starting
Our training season is just getting started, and the Lodge will be more important than ever this spring, summer and fall. We kick off the season next week with a straw bale volunteer trip, which gives people from all walks of life the opportunity to learn how to build their own sustianable and affordable buildings. Next, we will continue our green building theme with a Compressed Earth Block Training in May, working in collaboration with EARTHinBLOCKS. In July, we will host our second Native American Green Business Development Training, followed by our first dual Solar Air Heater/ Solar Electric training in partnership with GRID Alternatives. More information on most of these events can be found at www.solarwarriors.org.
Thank you for helping to build this incredible facility for our students. We greatly appreciate your support as we continue to improve the Sacred Earth Lodge. Our next big project is expanding our leech fields - not the most glamorous of projects but very necessary. Stay tuned for more updates and please consider supporting this project in the future!
The Sacred Earth Lodge (SEL) has been open to the public for three months now! We have already had several groups stay at the new faciltiy and we look forward to hosting many more visitors and Native American trainees in 2014.
At the end of this month, Native American students from across the country (including our first student from Alaska!) will join us at the new Lodge to learn how to install a solar hot water system. This will be our first Solar Hot Water Heater Training. Once the system is in place, it will join our growing selection of on-site renewable energy demonstration units. Along with our existing solar air heaters, wind turbines, and grid-tied and battery-tied photovoltaic systems, we will now have a solar hot water system that can be taken apart and reassembled class after class. This equipment gives us the ability to do hands-on training, which is so important to the learning process and what makes our training program unique.
With your donations, you are supporting this important new clean energy system and contributing to SEL’s low impact, sustainable building design. The hot water generated in this solar water system will be mixed with anti-freezing agents and circulated through a radiant heat floor to keep the building warm, using only the sun’s rays!
We can not do this important work without people like you! Thank you for your support and we look forward to sharing more updates with you throughout the year.
Thank you for supporting the construction of the Sacred Earth Lodge. Despite an unprecedented and very destructive early snow at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, the Grand Opening of the Sacred Earth Lodge on October 11 was a huge success!
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