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The Solar Panels at MacLeish

17 Oct
The Bechtel Environmental Classroom at Smith’s Ada and Archibald MacLeish Field Station is an energetically self sustaining building. All energy required to run the building is provided by the 9.4 kW solar array on site. The solar array powers the water heater, the space heater, and the lighting for the building. The U.S. Energy Information Association reports that the average American residential utility customer consumes 10,837 kWh/year. CivicSolar states that a 9.4 kW array generates about 13,600 kWh annually. Therefore this panel could support the average U.S. household. The solar array at the Field Station was designed and installed by the local (PV) solar cooperative. The tilt angle of the array needs to be adjusted monthly to maximize solar radiation. This is because the sun’s position in the sky changes throughout the year. On September 30th we adjusted the solar panels for October, to a tilt angle of 45°.
Emily_solar
Working to adjust the solar array for October.
Interested in photovoltaics? Come visit the MacLeish Field Station with CEEDS interns on any Saturday afternoon. Sign up here http://www.smith.edu/ceeds/macleish_visit.php. In addition, the engineering department offers a class in photovoltaic and fuel cell system design that gives a more technical background for these renewable energy systems.

-Emily Dixon ’15

Emily Dixon is majoring in engineering with a minor in landscape studies. She is excited to work at MacLeish as a CEEDS intern. During her first semester at Smith she was introduced to the field station through Paul Wetzel’s lab for BIO 155 Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation.

New Blogger: Emily Dixon

17 Feb

This past fall I took a semester off and moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga is home to world-class white water, 1-gigabit per second internet, and major industry such as Amazon.com and Volkswagen, which started manufacturing there in 2011.

I worked as an engineering intern at Volkswagen within the Plant Infrastructure department. The Chattanooga plant is the first LEED Platinum certified automotive manufacturing facility in the world. To meet this certification, Volkswagen rehabilitated nearby wetlands, created a 9.5 million watt capacity solar park, and included rainwater reuse in the facility design.*

VW                                 The Volkwagen plant.

During my internship I worked on waste stream optimization projects with the environmental team. The vast and constant generation of waste in manufacturing environments makes organizing and recycling very cumbersome and costly. To help my team get a handle on where possible optimization opportunities would have the least impact on production,  I designed  and developed a waste stream map for the assembly floor that outlined waste generation locations, the type of waste, and the removal method. This map also allowed the waste contractor to design the most efficient pick-up routes for collection.

TDI                                 Trying out the assembly line.

Now that I am back at Smith I am excited to bring this experience back to my peers in the Picker Engineering Program. I am also excited about my new position as a CEEDS intern! This semester I will be helping to coordinate the MacLeish Field Station maple sugaring project. If you are interested in getting involved we would love to have you! Feel free to email me: edixon at smith.edu.

Emily Dixon ’15

Emily Dixon is majoring in engineering with a minor in landscape studies. She is excited to be a new CEEDS intern. During her first semester at Smith she was introduced to the field station through Paul Wetzel’s lab for BIO 155 Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation.

*For more information:
http://www.volkswagengroupamerica.com/facts.html