Living with Nature: Solar Power
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Apr 22, 2019
As the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation embraces more sustainable, innovative practices in our preservation work and beyond, we’re sharing some of these methods, and providing some tips on how you can incorporate these practices into your own home and life. Here, we discuss how we’re harnessing the power of the sun to greatly reduce our energy consumption.
For the first month of Living with Nature: Sustainable Practices from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, we’re focusing on solar energy. In 2012, we established a program to help reduce energy consumption at Taliesin West, Wright’s winter home and desert laboratory. After making several small steps toward energy efficiency, we partnered with First Solar to install a solar field. The solar field, which is about the size of a football field and contains almost 4,000 solar panels, was generously donated by First Solar. This new solar power initiative has allowed us to cut 50% of our power consumption. In addition we now save about 36% on our electric bill.
When choosing the site for the solar field, we kept Wright’s principles of blending with the environment in mind, as to not take away from the beauty of the desert landscape or Taliesin West. When standing on the Prow at Taliesin West, looking out toward Camelback Mountain, the solar field is out of sight, tucked into the natural environment.
During the installation of the solar field, we minimized impact and damage the installation might have on the desert by transplanting the native cactus and other plants in the desert surrounding Taliesin West.
“When our power bills were approaching about $170,000 a year; that was a lot of money that we were giving to the utility company, rather than investing back into our site to restore the buildings,” Foundation Vice President of Preservation Fred Prozzillo said. “By installing the solar field, we’re able to take that money and put it right back into programming, restoration of the buildings at Taliesin West, and more.”
Here are some great tips on how you can implement solar power in your home and life:
- Look into solar power programs in the city where you live. Many cities around the United States offer programs where you can lease or purchase solar panels for your home for little to no money down.
- Invest in a solar hot water heater. By using a solar thermal collector, the conversion of sunlight into heat can fulfill all of your water heating needs in a much cleaner way
- Opt for solar products when they’re available. For example, many solar-powered landscape lighting options can help you cut cost and be more energy efficient.
Check back next month to learn more about the sustainable practices we’re using at Taliesin and Taliesin West, and for even more tips on how you can help contribute to a more sustainable, beautiful world.
Living with Nature: Sustainable Practices from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is a year-long campaign where we’ll be sharing sustainable practices and how they play an important part in conservation for National Historic Landmark sites, like Taliesin West in Arizona and Taliesin in Wisconsin. Along the way we’ll be sharing helpful tips on how you can incorporate these practices into your own life, to help you live a more green life.