UF Housing installs Diamond Village Solar Dok

August 10, 2011

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Residents of University of Florida’s Diamond Village now can work on laptops or plug in other personal electronics while outdoors at a high-tech picnic table powered by the energy of the sun.

The Department of Housing and Residence Education has installed a Solar Dok in the residence area. The Solar Dok looks like a picnic table with a metal umbrella roof complete with solar panels. The solar panels collect energy that is stored in battery packs within the unit. In the sun, the solar panels are efficient enough to run devices during the day independent of the batteries. The pole of the umbrella roof houses the outlets. Residents can work on laptops or plug in other personal electronics and experience using energy “off the power grid.” The Solar Dok is located west of the Diamond Village Commons.

The Solar Dok “SD1” provides “green” energy by utilizing solar panels and an integrated battery bank to provide power through four standard power outlets and two USB Type A power outlets. Power is also provided to a timed LED light for nighttime use. A meter on the unit indicates charging status.

“The Housing Green Team and graduate and family housing staff researched several solar projects to pilot in graduate and family housing,” said Sharon Blansett, Housing Green Team Captain. “The Solar Dok project provides functionality and the ability to educate residents about solar energy in an experiential manner. Plus it is high profile – you can’t miss seeing it!”

Residents are being encouraged to provide photos of themselves, family, neighbors, and friends using the Solar Dok to staff to post online. A “Cutting the Power Cord” ceremony is planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday September 14 on site. Diamond Village is the designated location to pilot all sustainability projects targeting graduate and family housing residents. Other active sustainability projects in Diamond Village include an herb garden, water barrels to collect rain water for the herb garden, a compost bin, and a recycled glass tile flooring pilot in the Diamond Commons.