I was blessed to contribute to the success of the PV retrofit installation, believed to be the first non self adhesive installation in Miami Dade County. The project is a huge success and serves as a wonderful example of what one day each and every home could look and function like. This is the resource page form the owner and below is the Press Release for the project. Please share and spread the word, so we can continue to install many PV systems in South Florida.
Contact SEA for Help with your Solar Project. www.SebastianEilert.com
“March 12, 2009; MIAMI. Everyone held their breath and watched as the dial on the electric meter began to slow down, stop, and then reverse direction. With the flip of a switch, Todd Cooper’s family reached the culmination of 14 months of hard work towards a passion for sustainability. Their new photovoltaic system was finally installed and operational, and thanks to the clear sunny day, was already saving money and reducing their carbon footprint. The Village of Palmetto Bay now has its first fully permitted residential solar energy system.
Todd and his wife Omi Diaz-Cooper, who own Miami ad agency Diaz & Cooper Advertising, embarked on their quest nearly a decade ago as their increasing concern about their impact on the environment planted the seed that would grow into a commitment to reducing their ecological footprint. What started as recycling, buying organic, and reducing the use of chemical cleaners gradually evolved into installing better insulation, high-efficiency appliances and compact florescent lights and eventually a home vegetable garden and compost pile in 2008. This led to a solar hot water system, which reduced their energy bill by nearly $100 a month and paved the way for their full photovoltaic array.
With the cost of energy rising and nearly unanimous scientific consensus about the effects of carbon emissions on global climate change, a solar power system offers an effective way to harness the endless energy provided by the sun, especially in sunny South Florida. Of course going from an average summer FPL bill of over $485 to less than $250 certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
“It has really permeated both our personal and professional lives,” said Cooper. Todd and Omi have also purchased a hybrid vehicle and are working to move their business into a sustainable building built from recycled shipping containers.
Though Florida is the “Sunshine State”, the current lack of residential solar energy systems leaves many municipalities lacking a structured permitting system for installing photovoltaic cells. Though this made the approval and installation process rather lengthy, the payoff was well worth the effort.
Inspiration came first from Todd’s father, Thomas T. Cooper Sr., A.I.A. who is also the architect of the new office building. Cooper Sr. is a decorated architect whose highly energy-efficient home in Jensen Beach has drawn praise in both the professional and local communities. He helped design the solar energy system and provided the technical drawings needed for the permit process.
Several others were also valuable contributors to the process, including electric engineer Tomas Armstrong, P.E., who donated his services because he is a strong believer in solar energy, and sustainable design architect Sebastian Eilert, who consulted with the Cooper’s when they hit roadblocks in the permitting process. The gracious help of Commissioner Katie Sorenson and her aide, Sean McCracken, was also invaluable to securing the building permit and proceed with the installation.
The array on the roof, installed by Solar Energy Systems, consists of 22 photovoltaic panels and safely generates 5 kilowatts of clean, renewable energy to help power the Cooper home. “Anything we don’t use is pumped back into the grid the same way it would from a nuclear or coal plant,” said Todd. Up until about 6 months ago, FPL would only pay 30 to 40 cents on the dollar for this electricity, but now they pay full price, and with the federal rebates it is a good investment for the family as well.
“We’ve come along way from discussing the idea around the dinner table over a year ago, and in a few years, we’ll start seeing a real return on our investment” Todd notes, “but for now the knowledge that we’re doing what we can for the environment is more than enough.”
More about this: http://www.diazcooper.com/green-matters/resources/
About Diaz & Cooper Advertising
Founded in April of 2001, Diaz & Cooper is a Miami-based agency providing multi-media communications and advertising services to national and international clientele. For more information, visit www.diazcooper.com
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