BY MAUREEN WERTHER
Douglas Ward, Mark Straus, and Tom Gardner
know the history of Saratoga Springs and its
Their buildings, located at 464-468 and 454
Broadway are between 100 and 150 years old,
bringing with them a historical significance that
comes with many of the buildings on Broadway
in downtown Saratoga Springs.
Straus views himself not as a landlord, but “as
the steward of the building, the caretaker. We
continually reinvest in the properties so they can
last another 100 to 150 years,” he said. “Continued
improvement is our goal.”
Solar power was the next step to take as a way
to ensure these buildings continue to endure, but
in a modern and environmentally responsible way.
It began on Nov. 23, when Apex Solar Power started
installation of a solar power system.
Straus, Gardner, and Ward have been committed
to Saratoga and its history for decades, through
their involvement with historic preservation work
beginning in the 1970s, to currently being active
members of the Saratoga Preservation Foundation.
Straus said he wants to see more buildings and
business owners go solar.
“The benefits, both financial and as far as
energy efficiency goes, it was an easy decision. I
have been encouraging other building owners to
go solar as well, they are waiting to see the results
of my project,” he said.
The 60,000-watt solar system being installed
by Apex Solar Power stands to offset 74 percent
of the combined electrical usage of the buildings,
said Strauss, saving them over $160,000 in utility
costs over the next 20 years.
The project stemmed from the efforts and
support of the city’s Solarize Saratoga program,
a community outreach program that educated
residents about the benefits of solar power, and
provided a group discount for those who enrolled
to get a free solar estimate. Strauss said it was
through this program that Apex got involved,
as they were selected by Solarize Saratoga as an
installer for the program.
“We understand that Saratoga has history, and
that there are dedicated individuals like Mark
who want to not only encourage progress, but
preserve what has been there for over a century,”
said Ben Sopczyk, director of marketing at Apex
Solar. “This will be our second installation in the
historic district of Saratoga Springs and both have
been required to undergo board review before we
could obtain a building permit. I think they have
found a great balance between monitoring and
regulating what improvements can be made while
being supportive of new ones.”
Nick Clingerman, a project manager at Apex
said the city Planning Board “has been great to
work with, and have shown to be very forwardthinking
when it comes to these types of improvements.
It’s great they are helping progress
like this in Saratoga while preserving the historic
architecture. Many of the buildings on Broadway
have flat roofs, these give flexibility in the system.
In fact, the solar panels for this project will not
even be visible from the street.”