MOTHER's Newsworthies: Congressman George Brown, Samuel Freeman and Dr. John Blossom

Learn how Congressman George Brown, Samuel Freeman and Dr. John Blossom are using alternative energy sources.


| May/June 1977



045-036-01-John-Blossom

Dr. John Blossom invented the "Wind Genni," a significantly different design in wind-generating plants.


MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

Brief: Congressman George E. Brown, Jr.

Not many U.S. Congressmen can claim to have an "integral urban district office" complete with solar heating and cooling, a lean-to greenhouse, and bee-hives. Representative George E. Brown, Jr. (D-Calif.) can, however ... because he does have just such office facilities.

Two years ago — when Congressman Brown decided that he wanted solar heating for his Colton, California office building (an old house located in a semi-residential part of town) — he asked his staff to design and install a low-cost, low-technology heating system by themselves. He told his aides that they were free to seek expert advice, but that they should attempt to do as much of the actual construction as possible.

So while Brown was away in Washington, his staffers outfitted the building with an air-handling, "active" solar heating setup that employs a single large wood-and-fiberglass solar collector and a bin loaded with 13 tons of rock for heat storage ... a setup that — so far — has provided virtually 100 percent of the office building's winter heating needs. (The same system can be used to provide cooling during the summer, although — because of the desert-like temperatures that hit the area during the summer months-supplemental cooling must also be used.)

In back of the aging office structure, Brown's aides built a lean-to "solar greenhouse" that furnishes the main house with additional solar heating and provides the Congressman's staff with a year-round supply of fresh vegetables.

A year or so ago, Brown's staff members decided they wanted to "raise" honey as well as vegetables ... so they "coaxed" a swarm of bees into an empty hive, and within six months harvested 100 pounds of the golden sweetener!

Because of the great amount of public interest in these and other of the Congressman's activities, Brown recently encouraged the Agricultural Division of the University of California's Cooperative Extension to apply for federal funding to open a community food preservation center in nearby Riverside, California. The application was approved.  





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