Merry and bright
As we head towards longer days of sunshine, why not capture the sun's power to brighten our winter nights?
Enjoy your holidays knowing that with each passing day, we see a little more sunshine.
David Silburn, General Manager and Research Associate for SAIT's Green Building Technologies in ARIS, welcomes the sun for not only its mood-boosting qualities, but for the tremendous power it can generate.
"It's no wonder we look forward to stringing holiday lights on our homes and trees at this time of year," says Silburn. "We crave light to break up our long, dark nights. And why not use the sun to help light up the night?"
Silburn and his team are always looking for ways to reduce our impact on the earth, by building smarter homes. Solar energy, whether passive — think of a cat basking in a warm sunbeam — or intentional, with the use of solar panels, is one way we can reduce our dependency on the power grid.
And if you think snow might prove problematic to solar panels, Silburn says think again.
"Snow only degrades the performance of solar by just over 5% annually," says Silburn.
Solar modules clean themselves in winter, as infrared light penetrates snow, warms the frames and melts the snow as run off.
"And with 1,350 annual sunshine hours, solar is certainly a plentiful power alternative in Alberta."
Even if you don't yet have solar panels on your roof, solar-powered strings of lights are available at retailers.
So deck your halls with colourful holiday lights and let the sun shine all winter long — even at night.