There is a new initiative floating around the solar industry called “energy raising.” The concept is based on the well-known barn raisings utilized by the Amish. Many hands make for light work. The solar version uses the same idea of neighbors helping neighbors, but instead of raising a barn, a solar thermal hot water system is “raised.” Volunteers split into groups to assist in installing the evacuated tubes and rack, the piping and other components. The host of the energy raising pays it forward by helping out on other installations. Participating in an energy raising is a great way to lower the cost of a solar thermal installation. Some professional help will be required in regards to connecting the water tank to the plumbing and electrical systems. A group in Plymouth, NH has pioneered the energy raising concept, but there are other groups that have followed suit. I am a proud contributor to the energy raising efforts of the DFA Task Force for Energy, Environment and Sustainability in Gettysburg.