When Stonyfield Farm put a 50 kilowatt solar energy array atop its manufacturing facility near Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in 2005, the organic yogurt maker laid claim to the title of largest solar energy system in Manchester, NH.
That record that stood until 2009, when PSNH inched past Stonyfield by installing a 51 kilowatt solar energy system on the roof of its Energy Park headquarters in the Millyard. But that record, too, is soon to be broken. Preparing to claim the title is another Millyard landmark, the Pandora Mill, which is currently installing a 75 kilowatt solar energy system on its roof:
Built in 1850, the Pandora Mill has been empty since 1990. It is now owned by Segway inventor and DEKA Research and Development owner Dean Kamen, who owns several other mill buildings and is currently spending some $10 million to rehab the Pandora as commercial office space.
"Dean doesn't like to waste anything," said Don Clark, Director of Property Management and Development for Kamen's various business entites. And Kamen's aversion to waste includes energy. So when plans were being made to rehab the cavernous mill building, it was designed to be as energy efficient as possible.
The aforementioned, south-facing solar panels, for example, will create enough electricity to power 25 percent of the energy needs of the 130,000 square foot building. And that's during the work week, with all mechanical systems up and running at full capacity. On the weekend, when no one's there, the solar panels on the roof will create an excess of electricity, which will then be sold to PSNH.
The Pandora's solar panels are just one component of what will soon be designated a Silver Level LEED certified building. Covering the roof is a white PVC membrane which reflects light and heat:
Even the lights on the roof, which will illuninate the mill's copper-topped tower, are 40 watt LEDs that emit the equivalent of 250-300 watts, said Clark:
And that's just the roof. Inside the efficiently-insulated building one will find low-flow, hands free toilets and sinks, motion-activated lighting and even a 6,000 gallon rain water collection system that is used in conjunction with the building's cooling tower:
Furthering the Pandora's green cred is a bicycle storage room and a locker room/shower facility designed to encourage the office workers who will soon inhabit the building to ride their bicycles to and from work.