Hydroelectric Plant and Sustainable Homes
Last night was our final night at the Volcano Brewing Company and it was a little bit surreal to zip up our luggage and check out of our rooms for the final time. For the last week, that hotel had served as our Costa Rican home and it was strange moving into new accommodations. Our new lodging is a hotel in Puerto San Luis and is located right next to a scenic docking area for boats. Before checking into our rooms, however, we began the morning with a lesson in solar energy, went on a trip to a hydroelectric facility, and took a trip to a sustainable home. During our class, we learned that solar energy may utilize two different types of technologies: photovoltaic power and concentrating solar power. It is also a renewable energy source that is continually on the rise in the United States and replaces peak load generation of fossil fuels. One historical fact regarding solar energy that I found to be really interesting is that the greek scientist, Archimedes, harnessed light from the sun to fend off attackers when the Romans invaded on battleships. They did so by tilting their bronze shields to collect light from the sun and then focusing the intense rays on their enemies, aiming to set fire to their ships.
The drive to the hydroelectric plant was short, but the sky was overcaset for the first time since we had arrived in the country. I’d been so accustomed to bright and sunny skies that at first the gentle drops of rain hitting the bus window seemed foreign to me. Luckily though, it only drizzled a bit and then quickly passed. We pulled up at the hydroelectric facility and were greeted by one of the managers, who showed us around. Inside, we were shown a scaled-down model of the technology they implement there as well as a pressure chamber that is used to stabilize divers who find themselves in trouble and is designed to carry two passengers: a physician and a patient.
Next, we visited a man and his wife at their sustainable home. They have been living in Costa Rica for a long time now, but only recently in the last few years have they finished construction on their new house and moved out of the cabin they had been staying in while it was being built. It is fully sustainable, when it comes to electricity and water, and is comfortably furnished. He built and designed the place, himself, and it sits cradled on a hilltop between primary rainforest. The inside of their house is beautifully decorated and fully equipped with such a low carbon footprint. They cooked a delicious meal for us, took us around on a tour of their property, and then we were off to check in at our hotel.
After settling in to our new rooms, the counselors surprised us with a sunset boat cruise around the lake. The view was absolutely gorgeous and a few of us even took a dip in the water when we stopped for a while to relax. Tomorrow, we have our capstone projects so we will be spending most of the day preparing for that.
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