Submitted by Jeff Buster on Thu, 09/20/2007 - 09:20.


On August 25, 2007 The Washington Post published an article written by David Briggs (who also writes for the Plain Dealer) featuring the Heights Youth Club’s renovation of the former United Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.


While the Heights Youth Club  (an affiliate of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America)  is non-secular, one aspect of the former church which was not renovated/removed at the time the church was converted to a youth club (because of budget limitations) was the steeple. 


The steeple is a pretty bland “symbol” in my opinion since it  has no cross or star or maroni statue .  Nevertheless, believe it or not, the remaining steeple continues to be a “secular” symbol which has discouraged donations from certain quarters, and a few parents of non-member kids have commented that they thought the HYC program was a religious one because it was conducted in a church building with a steeple. 


Old Iconic Images Die Hard – let’s create a new positive powerful image – THE SUN POWERING OUR YOUTH. 


In plan the square brick supporting walls for the existing steeple are  approximately 12 feet by 12 feet.   Those brick walls run all the way down to the foundation.  A structural engineer will need to determine  the allowed wind load on the walls and the allowable photo voltaic surface  area determined from the allowed wind loading.    I believe a PV array generating about 5 kw could be installed.  I would like to see an azimuthing array which tracks the sun from dawn to dusk.  This more complex system is more expensive but improves power generation by about 40%.   The tracking movement of the array will heighten the dynamism of the solar panels as a environmental progress symbol. 


The power generated will be fed back to the grid via an inverter and grid tie switch. The kids can use the installation as a case study in alternative energy.   When you watch the sun drive an electric meter in reverse – it makes a strong impression.  I remember distinctly watching the Taylor’s meter run backwards during their solar open house in Cleveland Heights.


Permits will be needed from Cleveland Heights planning and building departments.  What will their response be? 


Funding (I estimate $100,000 to $200,000) will be needed for the project.  Contact the Heights Youth Club or me if you're interested in designing or funding or otherwise assisting this possible project .












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