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Clark’s Sustainability Hub Unveils First Solar Awning in MA

Sustainability Hub Unveils Solar Awning

Elyse Wyatt, Scarlet Staff

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The Clark University Sustainability Hub has partnered with National Grid and the City of Worcester to unveil the first solar awning in Massachusetts. The awning was unveiled on Friday, March 24 outside the Sustainability Hub at 912 Main Street. The event was also a celebration of the National Grid Sustainability Hub’s success, the first of it’s kind in New England. The solar awning hangs over the Sustainability Hub’s street-facing windows, according to “New Solar Awning Project Unveiled at Sustainability Hub,” published by Clark News and Media Relations.

According to the article, the awning offsets about 15 percent of the Hub’s electricity use in addition to reducing the need for air conditioning by providing shade. The awning itself is a relatively small-scale model, serving primarily to demonstrate the technology and serve as a tool for educating local students. The solar awning is a window into what “could be,” acting to showcase a potential sustainable energy solution for buildings lacking in rooftop space.

Clark has long been committed to sustainable energy solutions, and established the sustainability hub in October 2013. The Hub’s primary purpose is educational; it is an interactive building that provides hands-on education about energy efficiency and new energy technologies available to National Grid customers, according to the article “Sustainability Hub Opens on Main Street,” published in Smart Cities Council of North America. The Hub has hosted over 8,000 visitors since its opening almost four years ago.

Clark partnered with National Grid to open the Sustainability Hub. National Grid is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast, servicing New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, as well as its base country, the United Kingdom, according to the company’s website.

The solar awning installation celebrated the successful partnership between Clark and National Grid, and demonstrated Clark’s ongoing commitment to community development and education. President David Angel cited environmental sustainability as a mark of a healthy and thriving community, noting that community health is strongly interrelated with environmental responsibility. The Sustainability Hub has been a hallmark of community engagement, acting as a draw for Main South and surrounding communities since its opening.

The partnership between Clark and National Grid has also been responsible for other environmental innovation, including plans to build the largest solar farm in New England, according to the article published by Clark News and Media Relations. The Sustainability Hub has provided internships to twenty-one Clark students, eight of whom have gone on to pursue full-time jobs with National Grid.

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Clark’s Sustainability Hub Unveils First Solar Awning in MA