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Wind Turbine Furthers College Commitment to Sustainability

The first wind turbine in Berea and one of a very few on a college campus, has been installed at Baldwin Wallace University. The residential-sized turbine was erected north of Bonds Hall just outside the baseball field located on Eastland Rd. The location is one of two campus sites that best capture the flow of wind across the campus.

"This wind turbine is considered small by industry standards.  It provides energy output for the typical U.S. single family home," said BW President Richard Durst. "It will serve as an educational tool for Baldwin Wallace Students, a 'model' example of new renewable energy technology that will help to symbolize the College's commitment to leadership in sustainability. It is a part of our larger institutional commitment to transition to an energy society of the future that uses less fossil fuel energy sources and more renewable energy sources.  We already have begun to make this transition with our commitment to the use of geothermal heating and cooling systems, waste composting and recycling.  In addition, BW has created the first new interdisciplinary major in sustainability in the state of Ohio, which has already attracted 40 students into the major."

The turbine, a "Skystream 3.7" is a 2.4 kW, 177 pound "residential power appliance" with three 6' fiberglass reinforced blades, resulting in a 12 foot wingspan.  It is positioned on a 60 foot galvanized steel pole to maximize available wind at higher altitudes. This pole is 14 inches in diameter at its base and 6 inches in diameter at the top and resides on a base that is 22.5 inches in diameter. The pole base is attached to a concrete and rebar base that is approximately 3 feet by 3 feet.

This "appliance" essentially is maintenance free. It operates when winds blow between eight and 60 mph and is constructed to survive wind speeds of up to 140 mph.  On calm, quiet days, the wind turbine will not likely be audible at all. It is nearly invisible in the surrounding landscape and environs.

Senior sustainability major, Nora Mahoney of Strongsville, was a driving force behind the wind turbine project. She and BW President Richard Durst presented the project to the City of Berea Municipal Planning Commission for approval and she was instrumental in securing significant funding for the turbine from BW's Student Government.

"The wind turbine is a small, but very visible, representation of the actions that Baldwin Wallace has taken to move toward a more sustainable campus," Mahoney said. The turbine will provide our campus with energy, education opportunities and is an outward sign that BW is a dynamic, innovative and environmentally responsible university."

The wind turbine is part of an expanding series of environmental initiatives at BW. Last year Baldwin Wallace became the first Ohio college to offer an undergraduate degree in sustainability. Ernsthausen Hall was the first Ohio residence hall to implement geothermal technology for heating and cooling with resulting energy savings approaching 80 percent. Geothermal technology also is being used to heat and cool the four-building Thomas Family Center for Science and Innovation and will be incorporated into upcoming expansion and renovation plans at the Conservatory of Music.

Last month, Dominion East Ohio and the Biodiversity Alliance recognized the College in the "Higher Education" category with its Northeast Ohio Environmental Award for 2009.

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