Last week, the interns from Eco Brooklyn went to the Net Zero Symposium sponsored by Das Haus in White Plains, New York to hear lectures and view a model of Das Haus, a passivhaus model made from two shipping containers that functions completely off the grid. The conference was held at the White Plains Public Library and about 100 people were present.
Das Haus (German for “The House”) is a traveling pavilion featuring German innovation in photovoltaics and energy efficiency. Das Haus is calling on ten cities across North America. Das Haus tour hopes to accomplish two goals: introduce North America to Germany’s innovations in solar energy and green construction, and create an ongoing dialogue across the country about policies, construction materials and techniques, etc., regarding sustainable design.
During the Das Haus conference in New York, the lecturers were a mix of Germans and Americans. The Americans who spoke are based in New York and addressed what is going on in the state.
Guy Sliker, from the New York Power Authority personified the attitudes of the typical American: America knows best, we’re number one, look at all that we have accomplished, go America! Mr Sliker spent the majority of his speech listing numbers that prove these (mis)conceptions. Mr Sliker was overconfident in New York Power Authority’s progress and too comfortable is the direction the ship is sailing.
Kim Curran, PV Instructor from the Bronx Community College, gave a distilled explanation of how PV works and the challenges the industry is facing. She gave a more realistic picture of the solar industry and the problems it is facing, such as bringing down cost, increasing efficiency, and the state of government incentives. Kim’s and most of the other presenters’ presentations can be viewed here.
It is an amazing thing that some of Germany’s technology is coming over the pond to North America. Germany has been using PV panels, energy efficient designs, and green roofs for decades and are lightyears ahead of North America in their development, understanding, and implementation of sustainable ideas. This is a giant step for progress in North America.