Energy Efficiency, Energy Self-Sufficiency

PV panels power the Amish Community Center

These solar panels power the Heritage Amish Community Center in Ohio

In addition to leading an energy efficiency retrofit for 28,000 convenience stores and markets      across the U.S. that saved up to 40 % in energy costs, Mark Snyder piloted another energy efficiency project for one of Canada’s largest restaurant chains.

Mark also recently designed and built a solar power and generator system for an Amish community center, with a multi-cluster
control system for managing power and battery charging according to the amount of sunlight available.

“This project could not have been accomplished without cutting the HVAC loads in less than half from 125 tons to 55 tons with super-efficient insulation,” Mr. Snyder said.

“Utilizing a new alternative fuel HVAC System, a natural gas fired 30 SEER heat recovery Variable Refrigerant Flow HVAC
system capable of running on methane, biogas, thermolgas or syngas , we reduced the HVAC to 15kw of electric load from 500kw of generator load to handle startup loads and 175kw to handle general loads to one back up 175kw genset. All the lighting is LED and appliances are energy star.

This project stands as a shining example of how the combination of cutting-edge energy efficiency and renewable energy can be combined in Northern latitudes of the U.S.to drastically cut
utility costs and create very practical and sustainable off grid Microgrid Alternatives.

Mark has been using his expertise in energy efficiency to make energy self-sufficiency possible in extremely challenging environments. He presently has 14 patents and partner patents in the area of solar power, water purification, green housing, heating, cooling, and electric and hybrid motor vehicles-to-grid interconnection for energy storage.

A home powered by solar and wind

This home is powered by the sun and wind.

Working in partnership with Elsa Johnson of IINA Solutions, Mr. Snyder undertook the task of creating a super-efficient, renewable energy powered home for a Navajo family living in a remote area 10 miles from the electrical grid.

Because Mark wanted hybrid power – wind energy at night and solar energy during the day – he installed a ruggedized 1kW Navajo Niyol Wind Generator, the first Navajo wind product licensed by Native American-owned Cherokee WindPower. In addition, high-efficiency solar modules and a sun tracker deliver 2 kilowatts of power – enough for lighting, refrigeration, and small electronics.

At the heart of this renewable energy-powered home is Snyder’s creation, the world’s first climate-controlled structure that attaches to the home and shields batteries and other components from harsh weather and extreme temperatures. Called the EMPUS Bump-out, this patent-pending 4×8 foot building ( 1.2 x 2.4 meters) features super-insulation, a 500-gallon water tank and a solar water pump.

Mr. Snyder has collaborated with the inventor and manufacturer of a breakthrough insulation material that allows the structure to be heated or cooled with very little energy. This insulation material has truly remarkable properties, producing amazing results.

cover of north american clean energy magazine

North American Clean Energy magazine featured featured the super-energy efficient, renewable energy powered home designed by Mr. Snyder.

Energy is stored in eight batteries from a major U.S. manufacturer who is working with Mark to optimize battery performance.

”The harsh environment, poor equipment selection, and improper maintenance doomed other groups’ attempts at off-grid electrification to fail decades earlier than they should have,” said Chip Johnson, western sales manager at Fremont, Ohio-based Crown Battery.

“When Mark Snyder came to us, we were excited about the project and about how he tested and chose components to make sure the Plateau Solar and Wind systems would last for decades.”

Each solar system is designed to last 25 years with proper maintenance and to withstand severe weather.

Elsa Johnson’s wants to empower rural Navajo people to help address the high unemployment rate among the Navajo Nation. That vision is shared by Mark Snyder. Training is a key part of his company’s projects. Training creates skilled workers who can install, maintain and service renewable energy equipment and installations.

Plateau Solar and Wind trains local workers to plumb, wire, rewire and retrofit houses, as well as install and maintain solar systems built to national codes and standards.  The George family home is an example of what skilled “green” workers can do. They can produce a super-energy efficient home very economically.

The energy efficiency of the George home was monitored remotely, by broadband. Sensors throughout the house, as well as outside, collected data about conditions and the home’s energy “performance”.

The energy efficiency of the home was so impressive that it attracted visitors from several U.S. agencies, including the Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

After visiting a home that Mark Snyder had retrofitted to be energy-efficient and energy-self-sufficient, USDA Rural Development Housing Administrator Tony Hernandez wrote ““This is such a heartwarming project. This family now has what so many of us take for granted—a way to keep food fresh, to stay cool, to protect health and to bring light to their evenings”. He made the comments on a U.S. Department of Agriculture blog.

USDA Rural Housing Adminsitrator sruveys Mark's solar power installation

From left, Mark Snyder, Tony Hernandez, and Nona and George Schuler survey the tracking solar panel that Snyder installed, along with a wind turbine at the Schuler home. Hernandez  is the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Housing Administrator.

The super energy efficient, renewable energy home was not the first collaboration between Mark Snyder and Elsa Johnson.

Delivering Electricity, Water and Sanitation

Elsa Johnson is a Navajo woman who founded IINA Solutions. According to its mission statement, “IINA Solutions is a non-profit humanitarian organization working to improve the quality of life (iina) for marginalized rural Navajo tribal members challenged by the lack of clean water, electricity, and lack of employment.

IINA Solutions provides an alternative energy solution that meets the basic human needs including green job training and internships through solar, wind and energy efficiency solutions.” There are more people living without electricity on America’s tribal lands than anywhere else.

Elsa Johnson, founder of IINA Solutions

Elsa Johnson, founder of IINA Solutions

Ms. Johnson asked Mark Snyder to help her realize her vision of bringing electricity and clean water to Navajo far from the grid. Together they created the Plateau Project.

Mark’s initial goal was to find a way to protect solar power equipment from the brutal temperatures found on the reservation , which range from 43°C (100°F)    to  -34°C (-30°F) .  Previous solar installations by other companies quickly failed because they did not take this into account.

To protect solar system components from harsh elements of the region, Mark invented the Enertopia Multi-Purpose Utility Structure (EMPUS). To date, 37 EMPUS units have been installed, with many more planned.  Some units are smaller, without bathrooms.

Watch a video about the portable, super insulated and solar powered structures by clicking here          Funding for the Plateau Solar Project  comes from USDA Rural Development and Renewable Energy Investment Funds administered by Grand Canyon Trust.  These structures can be used to support commercial, NGO and military operations in the field, as well as communities living off the grid. MORE