CITY-GREEN August 2014 Newsletter & Revised Bylaws

(From CITY-GREEN Chairman Mike Rybacki)


  • The next CITY-GREEN meeting is Tuesday August 26, from 7:00 to  8:30 p.m. at New Leaf Initiative, Third Floor, 243 South Allen St. Please come out and share your ideas towards a 100% renewable, sustainable energy transition.
  • Anyone wishing to help with CITY-GREEN website administration and preparation of the monthly newsletter – editing, posting stories, links, local biographies, pictures, videos – please contact Scott Patterson or Nari Soundarrajan.
  • Designs for a local small off-grid solar system have received a green light from both the zoning (State College) and the electrical permitting (COG) departments. Being an all-volunteer labor effort, a hands-on workshop during the construction process (including opportunities to test your designing and wiring skills), is planned. We hope to have an announcement for the hands-on workshop/construction date by next month’s newsletter. You can learn more by contacting Mike Rybacki.
  • The PSU Community Solar on State conference set for August 23, 2014 at the Park Forest Elementary School, 9AM – 4:45PM. Seating is limited and is now open to the general public. Contact Dr. Jeffrey Brownson for registration.
  • The Wiker Report on the 2013 Columbia Gas pipeline controversy has been released. On September 2, the PSU Sustainability Institute will host a public forum to discuss the report – 6:30-8:30pm at the Alumni Lounge in the Nittany Lion Inn. For more info, contact report author Alex Wiker.
  • CITY-GREEN Bylaws Version 2. Please review and comment, as they will be discussed during our next CITY-GREEN meeting.

COG “Energy Resources Coordinator” proposed by Centre Region Council of Governments Public Services & Environmental Committee

Nari Soundarrajan attended the CRCOG PSEC meeting August 13 and reported that their mood is positive in regard to obtaining input from CITY-GREEN on their proposed regional-wide Energy Resources Coordinator position, and that they reiterated their recognition of CITY-GREEN as an energy advisory committee. CITY-GREEN will continue to strive to be a respected, professional voice on energy matters in the community.

Penn State Community Solar-on-State Project Update 

The Community Solar on State workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, August 23 at Park Forest Elementary School. The workshop will be led by PSU professor Dr. Jeffrey Brownson, and is now open to the public (beyond the initial invitation-only participants) up to a predetermined amount. If interested in attending, contact Dr. Brownson by Tuesday August 19, 2014.

Some CITY-GREEN members have been invited in their individual capacity, and will not be representing CITY-GREEN as a whole. My piece titled: “Grid-Tied v. Grid-Free Solar Deployment” will be posted on CITY-GREEN’s blog later this week and cross-posted at Steady State College along with a piece by CITY-GREEN Secretary Nari Soundarrajan.

Comments on the solar districting issue are welcome. Send them to Scott, Nari, or Mike so they can be published at the CITY-GREEN blog and in future newsletters.

Monthly Member Spotlight: Wes Glebe 

Kudos to CITY-GREEN member Wesley Glebe, who has not only been meticulously recording whole-household electric meter readings at his home, but also tracking energy usage at the individual appliance level.

Wes has learned a lot about phantom loads, and about essential energy as contrasted with extraneous energy use. His energy tracking knowledge, along with his efforts in super-insulating his home, have resulted in a total average monthly energy usage of less than 700 kW for a ~1.500 sf home, which is about half the energy use of an average equivalent-sized home.

Wes will be teaching an upcoming Spring Creek Homesteading workshop to share his energy tracking skills. Date and time TBA. 

Ergenics Corp. Visit – Update

I spoke with Mark Golben, VP of Research and Development at Ergenics Corp, on July 31 about a possible site visit to their facility. They had just finished installing their first commercial prototype heat engine (1 kW) in Texas and would be busy with followup procedures until the second half of August at which time he welcomed us to call him again.

In addition to their role in fuel cell and NiMH storage devices, Ergenics, located in Ringwood, NJ, has developed a heat engine that, with small charges of solar electric or solar thermal energy, and a supply of low level heat (such as waste heat for geothermal), generates electricity.

The principle of the system is based on Reversible Metal Hydride Technology where solid state hydrogen, rather than as a fuel, is used instead as a working fluid in hermetically sealed containers. Their estimated cost for producing electricity in this manner is 5¢ per kWh.


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