BIRMINGHAM – Birmingham Covington School students will soon learn firsthand about wind power and how it can be used to promote clean energy. John Carlos Carvajal of Greening Detroit – who is also a Birmingham Covington School parent and Proud Dad member – organized the donation of a wind turbine for the school, along with the donation of materials and labor for its installation, with the help of BPS Executive Director of Operations Neil Campbell.
“The main concept of bringing this wind turbine here was educational purposes so that the children can learn off of the wind and do experiments off of the wind,” Carvajal said.
Mariah Power, a national manufacturer of vertical wind generators, donated a 1.2 kW Windspire wind turbine to the school.
It’s a “low-cost, low-noise, propeller-free, vertical-axis wind power appliance that maximizes energy conversion from wind into electric power, regardless of changing wind speed and direction.” Center Line Electric, Rauhorn Electric and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers training center donated the installation of the wind turbine, while American Fence, TMP Associates Inc. and Peter Basso and Associates donated services such as the installation of fencing, design work and engineering.
“My colleagues were really the ones that truly helped me make sure that this was going to be a reality, along with Neil Campbell from the school district, who was truly my right-hand person. Without him, I wouldn’t have been able to do this,” Carvajal said.
Because BCS has a special emphasis on comprehensive science and technology instruction, Carvajal wanted to bring a wind turbine to the school for use within its educational curriculum.
“The wind turbine is a great tool for these children to learn about sustainability and renewable energy, and that is something that should be noted, because it is the future,” Carvajal said.
Principal Adam Hartley said everyone at BCS is grateful to Carvajal and the various businesses for making this a reality.
“This really symbolizes what our parent community is all about here at BCS, and the talent and knowledge that they have in connecting it to the education that we’re delivering to our students here,” Hartley said. “We’re very excited and very appreciative of everybody involved. It gives us even more motivation to be leaders in green energy.” The 30-foot-tall turbine will be placed in the bus turnaround on the west side of the building, which is free of wind barriers. It will have a 6-foot chain-link fence surrounding it, for safety reasons.
The wind turbine generates power when wind blows against its vertical airfoils causing them to spin.
That power is then converted to AC electricity that feeds directly into the electrical grid in the BCS engineer technology lab.
Hartley said the power created by the wind turbine would be used to power tools in the lab to help students with small projects and experiments.
“There will be a wireless monitor that shows how much energy the turbine is producing, so the students will be able to see exactly how much energy is being produced and tapped into our electrical grid. If they are working on a project, they will be able to read, in real time, how much energy it is producing,” Hartley said.
When the wind turbine will be installed at the school depends on the weather and the availability of the contractors.
“I’m hoping that we can get it installed within the next week or two, but we’re kind of at the mercy of the contractors that have donated the time and material and the labor force. The first thing that we have to do is see if the ground is soft enough so that the foundation can be taken care of,” Carvajal said.
In the future, Carvajal said, Greening Detroit hopes to supply wind turbines to more than one community in metro Detroit.
“This is just the first one. We’re going to try to accomplish more,” he said.
For more information about Greening Detroit, visit www.GreeningDetroit.com. For more information on the Windspire wind turbine, visit www.mariahpower.com.
Source: Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle (MI)
Author: Mary Beth Almond