Expert Advice on Green Buildings

Envision Solar: Solar Tree Array

Product Review provided by: Claire Moloney, Cornell University
Product Review

Envision Solar, founded in 2006 by LEED AP Robert Nobel, is a San Diego-based company that offers high-quality solar shade structures.

Envision Solar's Solar Tree Array shades six parking spots while producing enough solar energy to fully charge six electric vehicles per day.

The Solar Tree, which can be shipped worldwide, is tilted at 15 degrees to maximize power production and shading. The system features an integrated wire management system and can support a variety of vehicles.

The Solar Tree not only produces clean, renewable energy for powering electric vehicles, but shades the parking spaces, which reduces heat island effect.

Many reputable companies and organizations have installed solar trees at their sites, including General Motors, NREL, and Dell.

LEED Credit Overview

According to the LEED for New Construction 2009 rating system, Envision Solar's Solar Tree Array could contribute to the following LEED credits:

Sustainable Sites (SS) Credit 4.3, Alternative Transportation - Low Emitting and Fuel Efficient Vehicles: One option for this credit is to provide alternative fuel fueling stations for 3% of the total full-time equivalent occupants. The Solar Tree may be considered an alternative fuel fueling station since it provides electricity for electric vehicles.

SS Credit 7.1, Heat Island Effect - Nonroof: This credit aims to reduce heat island effect by reducing the amount of heat absorbed by the hardscape. One option for this credit is to place a minimum of 50% of parking spaces under cover, which the Solar Tree could help to achieve. Alternatively, 50% of the site hardscape can be treated for reduced heat island effect, including providing shade from solar structures - which the Solar Tree could also help to achieve.

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