- Category: Living Green
- 05 May 2009
- Published on Tuesday, 05 May 2009 11:27
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College and workshop participants. The new system will help cut energy costs and conserve resources. Photo courtesy of the USDA
The US National Arboretum has installed its first solar-powered irrigation system. The drip irrigation system will save electricity and water at the 446-acre facility operated by the Agricultural Research Service in Washington, DC.
The new system is located in Nursery 5 which is used to conduct research for the development of improved trees for landscape use. It consists of six solar panels that collect sunlight, a battery and a converter box. The entire system runs the nursery’s drip irrigation system.
Because of the nursery's remote location, installing solar panels was less expensive than running an electrical line from the main power source, approximately a half mile away. As a result, the arboretum will see immediate savings on costs.
The latest project is a staff-driven effort to cut energy costs and conserve resources. The new system took less than one year to complete and is part of long-range plans to improve the arboretum grounds.
Installation of the new system marked the end of a week-long workshop conducted by students and faculty from Alfred State College of the State University of New York. The workshop—attended by arboretum staff, contractors, and homeowners—provided hands-on instruction on how to construct and use the system and its many benefits.
Future plans at the arboretum include installing a larger solar collector near the National Capitol Columns and solar shingles on the Arbor House, which houses the gift shop and visitor restrooms.
- Katrice R. Jalbuena