The Green Rivers Club at the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC)’s Two Rivers Magnet Middle School took the initiative to help save energy at their school. On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, with grant money and help from CREC, a Windspire was installed on the roof of the Two Rivers Middle Magnet School at 337 East River Drive in East Hartford. A review of the research on the advantages and disadvantages of solar versus wind power determined that a solution involving wind would be the most effective way to conserve energy. Students came to this conclusion using measurements of the wind currents present around the school, which is located adjacent to two rivers. The CREC school was approved for a $6,000 grant from Project Learning Tree, which also provided workshops for teachers and students on ways to save on energy costs. The school was supplied by Project Learning Tree with energy monitoring equipment that takes ongoing measurements of temperature, humidity, amount of light in “foot candles,” and wattage meters.
“The fact that this was student initiated is the most exciting aspect of this project,” explained Christie Hazen, Two Rivers Enrichment Coordinator and Green Rivers Club advisor. “We had to research the best ways to conserve energy, prepare a grant, work closely with CREC’s Director of Facilities, find a location for the Windspire, which in itself took over a year to establish, and learn about permits.”
The Windspire is a propeller-free, 1.2 kilowatt vertical-axis design that enables silent operation and features patented technology that maximizes energy conservation by turning wind into electric power regardless of changes in wind speed and direction. The stronger the wind, the more power the Windspire generates. In 11 mph winds, a single Windspire will generate approximately 2,000 kilowatt hours a year. “It was a great learning process for the students, and to finally see the Windspire installed on top of our roof was wonderful!” Hazen said.
CREC will use the electricity generated to help power the school building. An electronic monitoring device to log wind speed and the kilowatt hours saved is being connected to the Windspire this week.