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      Amarillo Veteran's Hospital goes green

      If you've been by the Veteran's Hospital in Amarillo lately, you may have noticed some construction going on.

      Solar panels are being installed, and it's hard to miss!

      Samuel Hagins, an Energy Engineer working on the project says, "This is required under federal law that was passed in 2007, that all federal facilities have at least 7.5% of their power being green power, and ours will be well over that. This should be close to 30 percent of our power."

      One thing we see plenty of around here is sunlight, and the hospital is taking advantage. In addition to supplying the covered parking for employees and patrons, this green energy will be saving the hospital some real green?|aka money as well!

      Hagins states, "Our bill usually in a year is close to $750,000 dollars, so yes. It will cut that by about a third."

      This investment is expected to pay for itself in the long run, but what about homeowners who want to reduce their carbon footprint and go green? Is this a practical short term expense for a long term payoff?

      Toby Lankford lives completely off the grid in the Mariposa Eco-village and says it's definitely worthwhile.

      "At this point, I don't see how we can afford not to go green. Last year, we spend less than twenty dollars in maintaining our electrical system. With the cost of installation, federal incentives on the electrical system?| we're talking a 6 year payoff on a 25-30 year system. So I'm going to have at least 18-20 years or better of free energy!" exclaims Lankford.

      There has been a lot of concern over water conservation across the High Plains lately as well and Lankford has a solution for that as well.

      "In 2010 we were a little over our average yearly rainfall, we had 23" of rain. If we'd have caught less than half of that, we would have supplied the entire city of Amarillo for industry, for landscaping, for all uses with just 9" of rain. That's the equivalent of what we used in 2010. If we had caught all that rain in 2010, we wouldn't have used a drop out of the ground in 2011, during the worst drought. It just makes sense and it's going to help us in the long run." said Lankford.

      One thing is for sure, at least around here?| going green is becoming a little more visible.