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Schools, Universities Turning to Wind, Renewables

windschoolprojectNorthern Power Systems Inc., a wind energy company and manufacturer of community wind turbines, has unveiled a Wind for Schools package that will help more schools produce their own wind power. The company also hopes the project will help students and communities realize the benefits of renewable energy.

Meeting the energy, aesthetic and budgetary requirements of schools and universities, the package provides educational institutions with a Northwind 100 wind turbine, a standards-based K-12 curriculum that is customized and linked to real-time turbine data, and web-based access for students and community members, says Northern Power.

The Wind for Schools package is made possible through The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which provides over $2.5 billion in grants to help state and local governments fund their renewable energy projects via the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG). It also authorizes an additional $1.6 billion in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs), which schools can take advantage along with various state and local incentive programs, says Northern Power.

According to the Barre, Vermont-based wind energy company, a Northwind 100, with 100 kW of rated power, can offset a large portion of the energy costs for an individual school. The company says elementary and secondary schools spend over $4.1 billion on energy and use over 50 billion kilowatt hours of electricity every year.

Northern Power recently installed a Northwind 100 at a local elementary and middle school in Medford, Mass. Click here for real-time turbine data.

Other Northwind installations or planned installations at educational institutions include Appalachian State College, North Carolina; Nature’s Classroom, Massachusetts; Wassau High School, Wisconsin; Richland Community College, Illinois; and New England Tech, Rhode Island.

Universities across the nation are also starting major projects to green their campuses. As an example, The University of Central Missouri (UCM) has announced a two-year, $36.1-million project to significantly reduce the university’s energy consumption and carbon footprint at the Warrensburg, Mo., campus.

UCM reports that energy-services company Trane of Piscataway, N.J., will head up the renovation and upgrade of the campus buildings. Trane has made a commitment to work with the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), a project of the William J. Clinton Foundation, on large-scale retrofitting projects, says UMC.

Trane recently launched the High Performance Systems Portfolio to help K-12 schools go green. The portfolio is a web-based tool that helps schools identify the right HVAC system to earn LEED points.

UCM upgrades include the installation of renewable energy-efficient HVAC systems, new hot water distribution systems, energy-efficient lighting, campus-wide building automation, life safety measures, laboratory air systems and controls, and green technologies for curriculum utilization and campus green awareness. The retrofit will also include the replacement of roofs and windows on various buildings, improved air handling systems and acoustical improvements for the classroom and office spaces.

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