Waterbury Campus Installs Solar Trackers and Innovative Wood Heating Systems
The Green Mountain Club in Waterbury Center is now powered 100% by on-site renewable energy.
Club Executive Director Will Wiquist said it was a no-brainer.
“As stewards of the Long Trail, GMC must walk the talk in promoting efficiency and renewable energy. We can’t ask others to protect the trails and mountains and forests when we haven’t taken steps to reduce our own impact on the environment.
With a $67,000 grant secured by Sen. Patrick Leahy and administered by the Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation, GMC installed an exterior wood gasification boiler on its seasonal staff building. This innovative prefabricated boiler system provides clean, renewable heat and hot water for smaller facilities. The staff building isn’t large enough to house an interior boiler system as is found in the nearby main visitor center and headquarters.
The club also added four new solar trackers to go with its three previously-installed trackers and rooftop array. These generation systems together with energy efficiency measures incorporated during the building of the 2-year old headquarters make the club net-neutral. And, it actually expects to produce more than it consumes.
David Blittersdorf, CEO of AllEarth Renewables, says, with these smart moves, the Green Mountain Club has taken control of their energy future.
“By investing in their energy needs now, this Vermont institution is doing the right thing both for our environment and for protecting their financial bottom line. Both are vital for their organization’s future.”
Solar wouldn’t have been possible without AllEarth’s innovative Power Purchase Agreement. Under this arrangement, businesses, organizations, and homeowners can lease the All Sun Tracker system for a small down payment and small monthly lease payments.
To fuel its two gasification boilers, the club primarily relies on sustainably harvested wood from club-owned land. By storing the hot water in large tanks, the club maximizes its use of the heat and hot water. The storage tanks essentially serve as batteries, storing water for later use.
Bob DeGeus, wood utilization forester for the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, said that by integrating building efficiency, advanced combustion technology, solar PV and their own fuel supply, GMC has created quite a significant system.
“I’d say this puts GMC in with NRG as providing a real life example of how to address energy use in a systems-based way. Towns and commercial and industrial property owners can visit the GMC operation to learn about options.”
The seasonal field staff – summit caretakers and trail workers – will also use a new type of clothes dryer: clothes dried with the heat from the wood boiler instead of propane.
In addition, the GMC campus boasts composting toilets. By using the same technology in the office as hikers would find on the trail appropriately gives the workplace the same “Leave No Trace” ethic.
Self-guided tours of the facility will soon be available to the public. Please contact GMC for details at: email@example.com and 802.244.7037.