Broadmoor Adds New Solar Panels to Meet All Electricity Needs
Published: January 20, 2010
With the recent installation of 42 new solar panels, staff at Mass Audubon's Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick, Massachusetts, expects to generate all the electricity needed on site. Broadmoor is the first in the Mass Audubon sanctuary system to generate all of its own electricity needs. Depending on the total number of sunny days in 2010, Mass Audubon can expect to receive a check back from the local utility for excess production.
|Advisory Board Chair David Parish and former Board member Chris Bordonaro of Evergreen Solar admire the new installation at the Broadmoor maintenance barn.
A total of 170 photovoltaic (PV) panels on Broadmoor's Saltonstall Nature Center and maintenance barn roofs should generate 20 KW, enough electricity to power offices, classrooms, meeting spaces, staff residences, and security lights. The total square footage of all the buildings is about 6,000 square feet. By comparison, a 5 KW, high-end, PV system meets all the energy needs of a typical home.
The new PV array is the latest sustainable step toward total use of renewable energy sources at Broadmoor. The nature center, a historical horse barn, renovated in 1983, is heated primarily by solar, using less than two cords of wood per year as backup heat.
Composting toilets eliminate the need for water, and 1,200 gallons roof rainwater are collected and stored to meet landscaping needs. These two technologies save more than 100,000 gallons of water per year (adding up to a total 2.7 million gallons of water saved over the last 27 years).
As part of a comprehensive campaign for a totally green Broadmoor, Mass Audubon hopes to have money raised by 2011 to add solar hot water heat in a new addition, improve insulation, upgrade doors and windows, and reconfigure the offices and classrooms. A free self-guiding audio tour of the nature center's green and energy efficient systems is available and will be updated after the nature center is renovated to reflect additional sustainability features.
Mass Audubon is also researching vehicles and grounds equipment that use renewable energy sources with the goal toward making Broadmoor 100% powered by renewable energy.
It's all about conserving energy!
The ceiling and walls of the nature center are superinsulated and also contain a plastic sheet that lines the building with a draft-proof vapor barrier. With solar heat providing most of the winter heating needs, a woodstove provides additional backup heat. The natural ventilation system continuously provides fresh air throughout the seasons. The combination of solar heat and superinsulation keeps the indoor temperature warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
The Saltonstall Nature Center features composting toilets, which have saved over 2.7 million gallons of water over the past twenty-seven years. A Smart Storm system also conserves water; by collecting and storing 1,200 gallons of rainwater from the building's roof, which is used for landscaping purposes around the sanctuary.
To reduce the need for artificial lighting, the building attracts natural sunlight from the large picturesque windows and photovoltaic panels installed on the roof. Sunlight is absorbed into the building through the windows, and the PV panels convert the sunlight into electricity. Through this natural system, which utilizes the sun's energy, 100 percent of the building's electricity needs are met.
"Working in Broadmoor's eco-friendly nature center is an unique experience, in that every day I am reminded about how much energy and water we are saving," says Ryan Johnson, former education coordinator at Broadmoor, "and it contributes to helping make the earth a healthier place."