Dalhousie building to see solar panel installation
Dal's Carbon Consultancy almost at goal of $32,500 for solar panel project
March 17, 2016, 1:54 pm ASTLast Updated: March 23, 2016, 12:52 pm
Environmental law students are close to getting the money they need to put solar panels on top of the Dalhousie Legal Aid Society (DLAS) building.
Carbon Consultancy, part of the Dalhousie environmental law student society, has raised more than $28,000 of the estimated $32,500 it needs for the project.
Third-year law student Peter Lesperance founded Carbon Consultancy about two years ago. This is its first renewable energy installation.
The solar panels will produce energy for the building from the sun. Lesperance estimates it will reduce the building’s carbon emissions by about five per cent.
Most of their funds have been raised through contribution, with Dalhousie contributing approximately one third of the installation’s cost. Lesperance said it’s an opportunity for people to address their own carbon emissions.
“(People) can either make a general contribution, or we’ll measure your carbon footprint and then calculate how much you need to pay into this installation to prevent the release of the same amount of emissions,” he said.
Carbon Consultancy has received contributions from a number of sources, both on and off the Dalhousie campus. Student organizations, faculty members, businesses and offices have all contributed.
How is it different?
Rochelle Owen, director of the office of sustainability at Dalhousie, said the Carbon Consultancy project is different from others like it. The difference is the project involves accounting for carbon emissions and a specific model they’ve created to fit the roof they’re working on.
“It’s nice because (contributors) will be able to see the project and do a tour of the system. It’s really locally connected,” she said.
Lesperance said it’s rare for contributors to have the ability to look out their window and see the change they’re making – at least in Nova Scotia.
“You can go online and purchase carbon offsets, but you don’t really get to see what comes from your contribution – at least in person, which people really like,” he said.
The future of Carbon Consultancy
Lesperance and Owen both said they hope to have the solar panels installed by the fall.
Owen said in the future, more Dalhousie buildings and facilities could use these same models they’ve created, if all goes well.
Lesperance said they’d like to fund more charities or social outreach organizations in the community.
Because the electricity of the DLAS building is paid for by the Dalhousie department of finance, Lesperance said there might not be a direct correlation between the money they save with the solar panels and the amount of people they can help. But helping charities should be different.
“There would be a more direct connection between the savings and that charity’s ability to do its thing and help people,” Lesperance said.
Initial steps to install the panels began on March 11.