DOE Lights-Up Forrestal Building with Solar Energy

Solar Energy Comes to the DOE Headquarters

One of the largest solar power systems in Washington, D.C. was inaugurated atop the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Forrestal Building today (9-9-08).  Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, shown here, energized the system for the first time, saying:

“The significance of this solar array is both practical and symbolic–it improves the way the Department consumes energy and it is a symbol of America’s commitment to using the best available new technologies to confront the energy challenges we face today and will face tomorrow,”

The system is expected to generate up to 205 MW hours of electricity a year, providing up to eight percent of the Forrestal complex’s energy during peak hours, the equivalent to the energy used in 17 residential homes in a single year.  The system is about 40 to 50 percent the size of a typical residential PV system.

President Bush issued an Executive Order in 2007, calling on all federal agencies to reduce energy intensity by 30 percent.  Bodman, in his remarks during the ceremony said,

“I determined that the Department of Energy should, and would, lead by example.  that we would be the first in the federal government to meet or exceed the efficiency, renewable energy, water, transportation and green building requiremens the President outlined.”

He went on to say,

“Our goal is to attain a U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, gold rating for all DOE new construction and major renovation projects.  Moreover, we plan to meet or exceed the Energy Policy act requirement of having 7.5 percent of DOE’S electricity provided by renewable energy by 2013.”

The Forrestal Building, owned by the DOE, is one of only two federally-owned and operated office buildings in Washington, D.C. to have earned the ENERGY STAR certification.  The other is the DOE’s headquarters building in Germantown, MD.

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Image:  DOE


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My home state is Illinois, and my hometown a little railroad/farming community named Galesburg.We lived on a small farm during my high school years and I became very aware of nature and it's wonders. I loved the out of doors, working with animals, plowing fields and harvesting crops. Those were very good years.After a stint in the Army during the Korean war my broadcasting career took off at the local radio station, a 250 watt "teapot" as it was called in those days. My first job was as an engineer, then the ham came out and I became an announcer/newsman, graduating after several years to a larger market and a stint as a TV journalist/photographer. Cold, wet weather led me to the southwest where I've lived for most of the last 40 years, with a couple of years out to have fun working as a private investigator in San Francisco, and a few years working in Las Vegas hotels and casinos. In all, its been a real ride.After retiring a few years back I became fascinated with the efforts being made to find alternative energy sources. I've watched our environment deteriorate during my lifetime, and now it's my chance to join the chorus of intelligent and caring individuals making a difference one day at a time.