Wind Turbines Supply Electricity to Center’s Net-Zero Energy System
Wind turbines will contribute to the Brock Environmental Center’s net-zero, on-site renewable energy strategy—targeting both LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certifications.
About wind turbines
Wind turbines today are used to generate electricity from wind energy. A wind turbine is composed of 3 propeller-like blades called the rotor, which is attached to a tall tower. Wind energy provides a clean source of reliable, cost-effective energy by not using fossil fuels and not producing any greenhouse gases or toxic waste.
Producing wind energy for the Brock Environmental Center
The sustainable design for the use of wind energy at the Brock Environmental Center is based on the yearly average wind direction and velocity available at the Pleasure House Point site. The prevailing wind direction is from Northeast to Southwest and varies from a relatively steady 10 to 15 m.p.h. during the summer months to an intermittent 5 to 10 m.p.h. during the winter months, with spikes that are prevalent during differing weather events.
Using this data, the sustainable design calculations resulted in the use of two, 10 kilowatt (KW), 70’ tall Bergey wind turbines that are located on opposite ends of the building. The two wind turbines will provide a total of 20 KW of total power output, which equates to 40% of the facility’s renewable energy sources (the other 60% being photovoltaic). The diagram below shows the exact wind turbine to be used for the project.
Similar to the photovoltaic system, the energy produced by the wind turbines is either immediately used by the facility operating systems or returned to the local power grid due to there being no on-site “power storage” system.
LEED and Living Building Challenge requirements
Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) allows a building to take credit for technologies that generate electricity and heat from sun, wind, water flows and waste biomass. Therefore, the wind turbines will contribute to on-site renewable energy for the Brock Environmental Center.
Living Building Challenge’s (LBC) Energy Petal requires that “one hundred percent of the project’s energy needs to be supplied by on-site renewable energy on a net annual basis.” It further defines “renewable energy” to include wind turbines, along with other systems. In order to achieve LBC certification, the building will be required to take monthly readings and measurements for a period of 12 months after occupancy to verify that its total energy usage is actually net-zero. If the measured results are not net-zero then an additional wind turbine may be required to create the additional renewable energy. There are several available on-site locations to add a wind turbine if needed.