It Took Us 40 Years to Get to Zero!
One of the oldest and most prestigious bike and ski shops in America has moved closer to petroleum-energy independence. The West Hill Shop in Putney, VT has capped off a seven year sustainability plan with the installation of an electric solar system that may make it the first bike shop in America to be net-zero.
Diny and Jim Sweitzer bought the shop from its original owner Neil Quinn in 2004 and immediately began to plan for the future. “I had a vision to one day be fully sustainable in terms of energy use,” states Jim. “In 2006 we erected a super energy efficient timber frame structure designed and built by local timber frame legend Tedd Benson. The timber frame structure uses sustainable materials throughout with the insulation value of its ceiling rated R30 and walls R20.” That same year the Sweitzers added a ground-source water-to-water heat pump system (totally electric) to heat the new building (the old shop is still heated with a wood stove).
Now the third phase of their sustainability plan has been realized with the installation of a 28-kilowatt photovoltaic electric solar system. Jim states, “The system was engineered and installed by SOVEREN (Southern Vermont Renewable Energy) and will cover all of our shop’s electric needs PLUS an extra 14% in capacity that will go back into the grid.“
Here are photos we shot during the installation. Stop by and see it live!"