Plymouth State University Students Install Solar Hot Water at EcoHouse

September 30th, 2010 by Adam

Plymouth State University is a little greener after the installation of a solar thermal system on the university’s EcoHouse as part of the building’s environmental sustainability renovation. PSU students, assisted by the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI) and PSU’s Office of Environmental Sustainability,installed the solar system in a day-long effort September 24. The system will heat water in the EcoHouse, a student run environmental living and information dorm, eliminating the use of thousands of kilowatt-hours of electricity and tons of carbon per year. PSU President Sara Jayne Steen said students originated the idea, planned the project and helped with the installation.

solar panel installation
Workers installing a solar thermal system on PSU’s EcoHouse. The system will dramatically reduce the building’s electricity use and carbon footprint.

“This is the kind of learning experience you can’t have in any other way,” said Steen. “What a fabulous opportunity for them, and they are going to be able to talk about this to other people.”

The effort is part of a university-wide initiative led by the Office of Environmental Sustainability to reduce the school’s carbon footprint, limit energy consumption and expose students to environmental learning. The system was installed using PAREI’s model of an “Energy Raiser,” fashioned after an Amish barn raising. Sandra Jones, PAREI co-director, said the project accomplishes two goals.

“First, it puts solar on the roof, a tangible tool that creates energy from the sun, and reduces our community’s energy use. Second, it brings a group of volunteers from all walks of life, together to solve a problem, as a group, thus reinforcing our sense of community.”

The solar thermal system installed is a 60-tube Apricus evacuated tube system designed for colder climates. The system will produce over 12 million BTUs and will eliminate the usage of over 4000KWHs per year.

The Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative, a not-for–profit member organization, was formed to encourage energy conservation, energy efficiency practices and promote the use of renewable energy in homes, businesses and other buildings in the Plymouth region through education, community outreach, accessibility and service coordination. The office is located at 69 Main Street in Plymouth, NH and can be reached by calling (603)536-5030 or by e-mail:, or

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or