A Tree Grows in the South Carolina State Capital
Half-Moon Outfitters installs the first (known) solar tree in the United States and largest tree/art solar installation in the world.
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A Tree Sprouts in the Capitol
May 24, 2011 â€“ Columbia SC. -Leaving nothing to chance Half-Moon Outfitters has positioned its new 5 kwh solar array in such a way that it will not be overlooked or missed by anyone, and provides clean, locally produced electricity as well. The system was provided by Sunstore Solar, the South Carolina based photovoltaic and alternative energy provider. Andrew Streit is the Sunstore salesman who originally called on Half-Moon Outfitters’ owner Beezer Molten when it became known that Half-Moon was moving down the street from their current 6500 square foot store to the new space at 2920 Devine Street which is just under 10,000 square feet and has 36 dedicated parking spaces.
The Solar Tree became the answer when various design challenges crept up with a conventional Solar Array. According to Molten â€œthe building was just not well suited to a normal rooftop solar array. The orientation to the sun was poor and I really did not want to make a bunch of new roof penetrations to allow for a diagonally mounted array in a place where no one would see it anyway so when Andrew started talking about a parking lot array or a tree, it really struck a chord with us.â€ Molten went on to acknowledge than green energy and green construction has become part of the company’s brand and mission. â€œIt has actually grown into a bit of a non-negotiable. Our first non-negotiable is a commitment to serving others, and out of this comes a desire to be good stewards of the environment which is the basis of our industry. This tree is now a symbol of what we are trying to do, I guess we now have a mascot.â€
Building a Solar Tree is no easy task. Andrew Streit commissioned the sculpting and welding team of Stuyck and Co. the metal work team that brought the Hootie and The Blowfish tribute sculpture to life in the Five Points District of Columbia. The tree is itself built from salvaged steel, and was welded together utilizing the engineering expertise of Fuss & O’Neill to insure that solar panels will withstand up to Hurricane force winds.
The building that the tree will partially power (perhaps offsetting as much as 10% of the store’s power needs) has a number of notable green design elements:
1.All paints and sealants are VOC free or of low VOC content.
2.All lights are either fluorescent or LED
3.Most of the metal and steel used is salvaged.
4.The majority of the lumber is harvested within 100 miles of the store most notable and prominently is the SC Cedar.
5.The majority of the remaining lumber is either salvaged or re-claimed.
6.The Front doors are salvaged and were once the front doors of Columbia High School, a beloved institution that was demolished years ago and was built in 1915.
7.The building’s faÃ§ade windows are actually roll up garage doors to encourage natural ventilation on pretty days.
8.All new paved surfaces will be pervious.
9.All purchased landscape plantings will be native.
10.Most donated plant materials are fruit bearing.
Half-Moon Outfitters is leveraging experience and expertise garnered during their 2005 and 2006 renovation of its North Charleston Distribution center which resulted in a LEED Platinum NC 2.2 designation, the first in the state. The architectural firm of Molten/Lamar provided the design and in both cases the buildings were designed to encourage and invite the winter sun in but with critical awnings to keep the summer sun out.
The new Half-Moon at 2920 Devine Street in Columbia, SC will open on June 3rd at noon.
Half-Moon Outfitters is a chain of 8 retail stores in South Carolina and Georgia and is on-line at www.halfmoonoutfitters.com.