Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan


Staff Member David Boprie brings sustainability home

Posted: January 13, 2016

Staff Member David Boprie brings sustainability home The 4000-watt solar power system on Boprie’s rooftop.

Senior Electronics Technician David Boprie can build everything from hardware for a space research instrument to a 20-watt solar panel for his bicycle. While he uses his skills at the Space Physics Research Laboratory (SPRL) to help study other planets, at home he works to protect resources on Earth.

Boprie believes in using renewable resources when possible and conserving those resources. His bicycle is just one example. Not only does he ride his bike for about eight months out of the year, reducing CO2 emissions from his commute, he also collects solar power with a panel on his bike.

Another one of his creative arrangements is the exercise space in his basement. He attached a generator to his wife’s elliptical and uses the energy generated from her exercise to power the elliptical, the radio and lights in that space.

The Boprie household also conserves resources by composting, gardening with rain barrel water and avoiding the car when possible. “It all adds up and is better for everyone,” Boprie says.

Boprie recently took a big step towards making his home even more sustainable. He placed a 4000-watt solar power system on his rooftop. The system is designed to offset most of his home power needs, and he keeps his needs low with LED lighting, high quality windows that reduce heat loss and solar lamps for address markers and patio lighting.

Boprie says that SolarYpsi, a grass-roots effort in Ypsilanti dedicated to the use of renewable energy sources, has been a great source of advice on these projects. His inspiration comes from his mentors at the University.

“I have been fortunate to have had many great mentors at U-M over the years, and a recurring theme is that it is better to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem. So with a bit of effort we are changing the ways we use resources,” Boprie says.

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