Renewable Equals Sustainable
Ecological sustainability is the achievement of an ongoing balance between human impacts and the regenerative capacity of the natural world. Production of electricity from non-renewable sources—coal, oil, natural gas—is not sustainable because the planet's supply is being used up. In addition, burning these materials adds to the carbon dioxide burden in the atmosphere, a major cause of the global climate change that is taking place.
Renewable Energy Systems on Display
Newly installed in the fall of 2010, solar panels on the roof of the barn and a wind turbine in the west field are now at work generating clean electrons. The Conservation Foundation, owner of the property, established this educational display as part of its Water Conservation & Renewable Energy Demonstration Project.
The Solar photovoltaic panels are capable of generating 2.35 kilowatts (kW) at full direct sunlight. These were installed on the south-facing roof of the barn to maximize their effectiveness. In the adjacent field west of the barn is the 60-foot pole-mounted wind turbine, which is capable of generating 2.4 kW.
Buried wires deliver the electricity generated by the solar panels and wind turbine to the Foundation's electric meter at the house/office, where it has the effect of reducing the amount of electricity drawn from the grid by the Foundation for its business office functions.
Rounding out the demonstration project is a rainwater harvesting and storage system. New roofs, composed of a metal material with high recycled content, were installed on the barn, granary, and chicken coop buildings.To store rainwater collected from these roofs, the Foundation and the Green Earth Institute collaborated to install a 25,000 gallon underground reservoir/cistern in the area between the barn and the granary. This water will be used by the Green Earth Institute for crop irrigation.
Large sign panels attached to the barn and granary walls describe these earth-friendly developments.
Interested in learning more about renewable energy?
*** Green Earth Institute, 10S404 Knoch Knolls Road, Naperville, IL 60565-5447 | Phone: 630-664-5681 ***
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Aerial Photos by Tigerhill Studio | Selected Farm Photos by Daley Photos | Selected Seeding Photos by Parisi Images