One of downtown Anchorage's aging office buildings is about to get an eco-friendly makeover.
As the days grow longer this spring, a towering wall of 64 solar energy panels is scheduled to arise on the Fifth Avenue and E Street building, which sits just east of the Egan Convention Center. It's one of the few solar projects of its kind in Alaska.
The 1957 building already needed a face lift, said Anchorage businessman Steve Zelener, who purchased it last August.
Unsightly metal panels cover the building's south side -- the part most visible to pedestrians.
Zelener knew replacing the panels could cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Why bother with granite or metal? Why not create a ground-breaking renewable-energy project in the heart of downtown Anchorage?
It didn't hurt that many of Zelener's tenants in the building are conservation groups interested in reducing fossil-fuel dependence.
Zelener and his colleagues reasoned that the solar panels might help make the four vacant units in the building attractive to other green groups and to cutting-edge firms.
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