On October 21, 2009, The Catholic University of America announced that more than 1,000 solar panels would be installed on several campus buildings before the end of year to reduce energy costs and carbon dioxide emissions. This project, implemented by Herndon, VA-based Washington Gas and Gaithersburg, MD-based Standard Solar, has now been completed – resulting in the largest solar panel system in the metro DC region in terms of the amount of electricity produced.
According to data released by Standard Solar, the system will produce about 340,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year and result in 294 fewer tons of carbon dioxide being emitted annually. The avoided emissions will be the equivalent of reducing the use of 30,300 gallons of gasoline in 2010.
Standard Solar, the Mid-Atlantic region’s largest designer and installer of solar electric systems completed the installation right before this past Christmas. The four arrays that were installed consist of 1,088 3-by-6-foot panels on the roofs of the Raymond A. DuFour Athletic Center, the academic building Aquinas Hall, and the dorms Gibbons Hall and Flather Hall. Under the terms of the arrangement, The Catholic University of America, the national university of the Catholic Church in America with over 6,700 graduate and undergraduate students, will purchase the energy produced by the solar panels from Washington Gas at guaranteed prices.
In addition to the economic and environmental benefits, Catholic University also used the installation process as an educational experience for students studying solar power and renewable energy. Students received instruction from Standard Solar and Washington Gas on the technology, and will continue to get hands-on experience in the years ahead.
“As climate leaders from around the world take stock of the climate meetings in Copenhagen, it is fitting the University and Washington Gas Energy Services are ‘walking the talk’ about sustainability,” said Scott Wiater, Standard Solar President. “We look forward to helping other colleges and universities connect what’s going on in the classroom to what we can help their schools achieve on many rooftops all over campus,” Wiater added.
Frank Gruber, one the most popular Washington, DC tech figures and a product manager of AOL’s Lifestream Platform, has revealed on his blog, Somewhat Frank, that he is leaving AOL to pursue new interests.
Saying that his New Year’s resolution “is to be bold”, Gruber writes that he will devote much of his time to growing TECH Cocktail, which he started with Eric Olson in 2006, prior to joining AOL three years ago. TECH Cocktail is a community building startup that offers events and community-powered projects open to bloggers, technology enthusiasts, entrepreneurs & professionals interested in technology in under-served technology communities.
In addition to TECH Cocktail, Gruber writes that he has “co-founded Shiny Heart Ventures, a startup focused on building products that remind us of the joys of life.” The company’s first product was Thankfulfor, “a social gratitude journal which launched in September” and according to Gruber, “has been growing into a strong community.” Last month the company also lunched Shiny Maine Lobster which is designed to “help bring a family business online for fresh lobster” that can be shipped direct by mail.
Gruber writes in his blog, “I have racked up a lot of airline miles bouncing between DC and the West Coast. It has been a good run and a great learning experience working in a large organization and I have met so many great people along the way. I am proud of our accomplishments at Aol. As anyone who has ever worked at a large company can attest, it is not easy to launch a product in a big organization and I did it a few times in just three years.”
In his blog, Gruber thanks AOL for the opportunity to work for them and bring new products to millions of people across the world. He said, “I am so proud of our accomplishments and look forward to Aol doing it’s own start-up thing in 2010.”
In reviewing my Google Alerts today I came across a solicitation from the Xinhua News Agency, China’s state news agency, seeking reporters, editors and marketing personnel for their North American operation. All candidates must be native English speakers, possess a background in journalism or marketing, be an American citizen or foreign national with a US Green Card, be in good health and be able to travel for stories and marketing assignments. Some knowledge of Chinese is preferred.
The Xinhua News Agency in North America is based in New York City, and has nine sub-bureaus in the United States and Canada. The agency has more than 120 bureaus around the world.
By the look of their personnel needs (click here to view the release), Xinhua is expanding the scope of its US news coverage. Though this is not a surprise by any means, given the growth China is experiencing, it comes at a time when many traditional news organizations are cutting the size of their domestic bureaus or eliminating them altogether.
There is nothing better than celebrating the holidays with family and friends – Christmas and the New Year especially.
Of all the holidays, Christmas and the New Year are the strongest celebrations about beginnings – the birth of Jesus Christ and the start of a new year. They are moments in which we are thankful for the year gone by (and sometimes surprised at the speed with which it has come and gone) and we look ahead with optimism, freshness and hope that are unlike other times of the year.
It is in looking ahead to all the possibilities in 2010 – for me, my family and friends around me – that gets me revved-up and excited.
So, as 2009 comes to an end, I hope everyone else out there can seize the energy that comes with a fresh start – all the power and joy that comes from a new beginning, where the slate is wiped clean and all your ideas and dreams become possible again.