The water in the town of New Castle is crystal clear and delicious. It also happens to be processed in a particularly green facility in the town of New Castle. The water treatment plant harnesses the power of the sun to heat the building.
The idea for the solar wall arose at a presentation to the Sustainability Board by the firm Earth Kind Solar. As part of the greening of the community, the town decided to install the wall at the water treatment plant. This building is the only one in town with a southern facing wall which is large enough to accommodate the technology.
Deputy Commissioner of Public Works Gerry Moerschell categorized the tools being utilized as “passive solar thermal technology.” No fans are required. Instead, hot air is pulled into the building through tiny perforations on the exterior of the wall. At the top of the wall, hot air is funneled into the building through ducts.
“This is one of the most cost efficient operations in town,” Moerschell noted. It saves 3,000 gallons of heating a year which translates to $10,000. The wall was financed by a $150,000 grant from NYSERDA.
The town is a forerunner in the implementation of this type of solar wall in the area. “We’re pioneering technology in the Lower Hudson Valley,” Moerschell said.
Ron Kamen, Chair of Earth Kind Solar, pointed to another advantage of the solar wall. “It’s virtually maintenance free,” he noted.
Scores of local school children visit the plant annually. Residents may contact the Department of Public Works to schedule a tour.