Monday, December 1, 2008

Solar Energy Field, Home and Buildings Category

Emcee: Debra Poneman

Our final inductee is RJ Jordan of RJ Construction--and just so you don’t get too full of yourself with all we’re doing in Chicago to go green. Now we’re going to meet a man who is bringing green to rural Iowa.

RJ Construction has been in business since 1989. Owned and operated by sole proprietor RJ Jordan, RJ Construction has been blessed to experience continued growth.

In the beginning RJ was the owner, manager and only worker. As time went on employees were hired, one by one. Currently there are three crews and three administrative personnel at RJ Construction. The office personnel, consisting of RJ's wife Sandra, daughter Tonya and sister-in-law Lorie, perform the day-to-day accounting, marketing and administrative duties.

For many years RJ ran the business out of his home. In January 2004 a shop with small office was purchased on the edge of uptown Marion, Iowa. So began the road to physical expansion with remodeling started on the historical building, which was the original Linn county highway maintenance division office and shop.

In 2005 three 150 watt stationary solar photovoltaic panels were installed on the premises and the net metering agreement was signed with Alliant Energy. A year later two 130 watt solar photovoltaic panel units went up on a tracking pole in the construction yard and were then tied into the current system.

Additionally, RJ designed and built several passive solar heat collection units. These solar heat collectors collect, store and then transfer the heat to a directed location. Each time RJ went back to the drawing board, he successfully modified the units keeping the design simple yet attaining a higher level of performance.

Today you will find three of his latest model passive solar collector units installed on the outside southward facing wall of the building. The stored heat is then directed into his shop area via a fan, which is powered by a single solar panel.

As a result of the Solar Power advertising on RJ’s work truck, RJ Construction designed and built a three season porch with in-floor heating, using an evacuated tubing system. The project uses solar power exclusively as the energy source for heating this area of the home. Their most recent solar project is an in-floor heating system incorporated in a new garage built in a rural community.

New (this past October) at the home of RJ and Sandra Jordan, you will find an 8-panel (solar photovoltaic) tracking unit! The system was designed to provide 75% of their home electric consumption. These tracking panels are adjustable (to reach the maximum angle per season) and sit at the roof level of their one story, ranch-style home in south Marion.

Along with RJ’s interests in alternative energy, he experiments with conversion of S10 pickups to electric and plays a bit with hydrogen power.

To represent the great state of Iowa, it is our great pleasure to induct Mr. RJ Jordan and RJ Construction into the Environmental Hall of Fame.