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Living Green

County inmates in Maryland to live off of solar hot water technology

Inmates from an adult detention center in Maryland will be seeing another side to life inside a detention facility – the way of environment-friendly living with the use of solar technology.

The Frederick News-Post reports the Frederick County Adult Detention Center will install solar hot water panels on its roof, which will be mainly used for heating more than 2,500 gallons of water per day. Solar water heating system is reportedly three to four times as efficient as solar electric technology. Meanwhile, the detainees are among the county's largest users of hot water.

"The occupancy is constant and all the hot water needs for laundry, bathing, cooking and cleaning are substantial," said Roger Perry, founder and vice president at Solar Energy Services, installer of the heating system, told

The 130-kilowatt scheme will include 57 collectors having more than 1,700 solar tubes that will gather thermal energy to heat water. It will need additional installation of water tanks and modifications in the plumbing system of the detention center.

What the facility is replacing for heating their water is natural gas. In the process, it is estimated the center will save $10,000 in annual operation expenses.

The $266,000 project is supported by an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the Department of Energy which the Frederick County received in 2009. Mr. Perry said that jails, along with hotels, dormitories, health clubs and military barracks, are facilities that can use solar water heating systems to generate energy savings. – C. Dominguez

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