Gaines Group Architects
DQ Harmony Square Project

Blizzards made by the Sun – Harmony Square Dairy Queen – Project Update part 4

Blizzards made by the Sun – Harmony Square Dairy Queen – Project Update part 4

Read part 1 HERE and 2 HERE and 3 HERE.

We are getting close to the finish line now with less than two months of work to be done on the Harmony Square Dairy Queen Project in Harrisonburg. Tile is being installed, HVAC is finishing, high performance insulation is done. The store it taking shape and is shaping up to be one of the most energy-efficient Dairy Queen Grill and Chill restaurants in the area if not in the country. The building features spray foam insulation thermal envelope system that will provide a comfortable working and dining experience to occupants. The HVAC system is sealed with mastic and wrapped in thermal protection to get the air distributed to the appropriate locations. There are multiple solatubes bringing daylight throughout the restaurant. However, the most unique feature is the solar array on the roof. If will provide 5kWh of energy to this building – Blizzards made by the Sun anyone?

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Want Solar on your roof? Worried you cannot afford it? Find out the truth here

Want Solar on your roof? Worried you cannot afford it? Find out the truth here:

Oct 14, Plains District Community Center, 233 McCauley Dr, Timberville, 6 to 8 pm
Oct 15, Ares Community Center, 201 Green St, Bridgewater, 6 to 8 pm
Oct 22, Community Center, 20593 Blue & Gold Dr, Elkton, 6 to 8 pm
Oct 28, Town Council Meeting Room, 174 E King St, Strasburg, 6 to 8 pm
Nov 4, Rockingham Co Fire & Rescue Meeting Room, 20 E Gay St, Harrisonburg, 6 to 8 pm

Massanutten Regional Solar Co-op Launch Builds on Success of Harrisonburg Effort

Go Solar with Us!!

Solar PV

Neighbors in the Massanutten Region (the City of Harrisonburg, as well as Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Page Counties) have formed a co-op to make it easier to save money on the purchase of solar panels and build a community interested in solar. This new group builds on the recent success of the Solarize Harrisonburg group that helped 68 area residents put solar on their homes. The group is working with VA SUN ( to receive technical expertise and support throughout the process. The co-op will soon host a series of information sessions to educate the public about solar and recruit new members. The first info session will be held in Harrisonburg on September 3 at 6 p.m. at the Massanutten Regional Library (174 S Main St). See below for additional sessions. “The momentum from Solarize Harrisonburg has continued,” said Joy Loving, a leader of Solarize Harrisonburg. “I’ve heard from about 100 people in the area who are now interested in going solar with this new effort.”


VA SUN is a nonprofit that helps make solar more affordable and accessible. It has worked with almost a dozen solar co-ops in Virginia. It helped 144 homes go solar, saving Virginia residents $396,000 in just the past year. VA SUN will provide technical assistance to co-op members as they review all of the bids the group receives, so that the group can make the best decision for its members. Joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels. VA SUN helps the co-op solicit and review competitive bids from area solar installers, and select one or more companies to complete installations for members. Co‐op members will then have the option to purchase panels individually based upon the installer’s offer. By going solar as a group and choosing one or two installers, each participant generally saves up to 20% off the typical retail cost of their system and has the assistance of VA SUN to help navigate the process.

Massanutten Region residents interested in joining the co-op can learn more and sign up at the co-op web


The co-op’s Facebook page is at

Questions? Email VA SUN at or Joy at

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Green Term Defined: Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)

The Solarize movement is strong in both the Shenandoah Valley and Charlottesville. The cost of Solar PV has dramatically dropped over the last few years and with this group buying power, the cost has never been lower.


So now a big decision needs to be made, do you sell your RECs or not. A Renewable Energy Certificate (RECs) is the environmental attributes of your green power that are sold separately  from the electrons that makes up the electricity. RECs is essentially the selling of the creation of green power to another entity that is not actually using that power in order to give them credit for green power usage.


So why is this a big decision? It can make your cost of Solar PV lower as it now generates a small income while also providing you with clean power. However, the entity that is purchasing your RECs continue to rely on fossil fuels for their power source. So if you are converting your electric usage to clean energy for environmental reasons, it is a hard decision to make. It may make it affordable so you can install the solar array in the first place, but it does not reduce our national dependence on fossil fuels.



Green Term Defined: Solar

Solar is sexy. You see it on television, read about it in newspapers, and see it on roofs. Going green and adding solar walk hand in hand in the mass media. However, many don’t understand all the options and implications of using solar energy in building structures.


Passive Solar Design – windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, store, and

distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer

Solar Thermal Systems – a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat)



Solar Photovoltaic Systems – an arrangement of components designed to supply usable electric power

solar house

Solar Air Systems – a solar thermal technology in which the energy from the sun, solar isolation, is captured by an absorbing medium and used to heat air


Trombe Wall – a thermal mass wall that is located within a structure used to absorb solar energy during the daylight hours and radiate that energy back out at night
Light Shelf – an architectural element that allows daylight to penetrate deep into a building. This horizontal light-reflecting overhang is placed above eye-level and has a high-reflectance upper surface. This surface is then used to reflect daylight onto the ceiling and deeper into a space.


Insulated Curtains  – a piece ofcloth intended to block or obscure light, or drafts