Friday, March 2, 2012

Solar Panels Up - School Walls at 90%

Friday March 2nd.  We finished up the solar installation at the CECAP school in Santa Cruz la Laguna and with a big push from everyone we reached 90% complete with the natural building project in San Marcos.  

First Look at Solar Panels

In the last two days we have worked on 4 projects.  One group woke up early Thursday and met with Paula, our volunteer guide from la Iguana Perdida and Shannon a volunteer teacher to visit a small school in the remote hamlet of Tzanjomel located in the mountains above Lake Atitlan.  The Tzanjomel team measured the building and gathered data so that ATC can design a solar power system for the school.  

Don Victoranio and Doug Kelbaugh Discuss Climate With Student Team

Another group, myself included, visited the village of Nueva Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan (NSCI) to design passive solar home heating options for NSCI, a village that gets so cold it freeze at night for several months of the year.

Roof of CECAP School in Santa Cruz la Laguan Before Solar 

Roof With Solar

A third group rode in the back of a pick-up truck up to the CECAP school and finished nearly all work on the solar power system and a fourth group worked on natural building in San Marcos.  

Natural Building in San Marcos

Charlie Rendall was the driving force behind the natural building project.  We learned how to construct walls with locally available materials.  The construction - called bajareque - takes very little energy to produce a building that is naturally resistant to earthquakes and has enough mass to even out the temperature swings between day and night.

University of Michigan Students Test Solar Panel With Help From Local Students

We also worked to review and inventory materials for a solar workshop to be conducted by our local Guatemalan partners.  

We accomplished a lot in a very short week.  

Tonight the team took a local boat or "lancha" to San Pedro to see a natural fabric weaving coop and to get some locally grown coffee.  Tomorrow we head back to Antigua for a last night celebration before traveling back to the US.

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