Rendering of Wind Farm at Quinnipiac University

Wind Farm to Go On-Line at QU

Published on September 16th, 2009

Twenty-five vertical-axis wind turbines, cylindrically designed and noiseless units based on a recent patent, are being installed this month at Quinnipiac University’s York Hill Campus as the centerpiece for Centerbrook Architects’ program of sustainable design strategies there. The units represent the first micro turbine cluster on an American college campus. The university’s second campus opened this fall and features residence halls that will house up to 2,000 students, a 2000-car parking facility, a Student Center, and the TD Bank Sports Center that was completed in 2006.

“Quinnipiac University is committed to building one of the most environmentally friendly campuses in the country,” said John L. Lahey, president of Quinnipiac University. “Our York Hill Campus reflects our ongoing commitment to using renewable energy sources and educating our students about the importance of environmental issues.”

Clustered together beside the main walkway connecting the parking garage to the Crescent Residence Hall and Student Center, the sleek turbines, or Windspires, vary in height from 35 to 45 feet, providing an effect akin to a kinetic sculpture garden rather than intrusive infrastructure. The “wind garden,” complete with stone benches, affords students an intriguing destination, a place to gather and reflect, with panoramic views of Long Island Sound to the south and rolling hills to the north.

The complex will generate approximately 32,626 kilowatt hours annually, saving more than 26,370 pounds in greenhouse gases a year, according to Amy Berry, a spokesperson for Mariah Power, the developer and manufacturer of Windspire. The electricity will power more than 50 percent of the exterior site lights for the 250-acre York Hill Campus, according to Jeff Riley, FAIA, the Centerbrook partner in charge of the project.

“Wind power is one of a number of green technologies and approaches incorporated into the site design,” Riley said. “The new sports arena is built into the slope of the land to save on heating and cooling and the parking garage is sited to preserve land and will potentially offer hybrid-car recharging hookups.” Another energy-saving initiative at the York Hill Campus is the placement of 871 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the Crescent Residence Hall to generate an estimated 232,000 kilowatt hours per year.

Centerbrook and Riley have worked with Quinnipiac to develop and implement a master plan for the university’s expansion over the past 30 years that, in addition to the York Hill Campus, has included a third campus in North Haven and more than 50 buildings and renovations o the Mount Carmel Campus in Hamden, including the Lender School of Business Center, which houses the Ed McMahon Mass Communications Center, School of Law Center, Arnold Bernhard Library, Echlin School of Health Sciences Center, Recreation Center, dining halls, two Student Centers, and numerous residence halls. Lahey has also announced that an environmental coordinator will be appointed with the responsibility of educating students, faculty and staff about environmental issues and encouraging projects that help protect and preserve the environment.

Founded in 2005, Mariah Power has designed Windspires for private homes, among them two projects for the television show “Extreme Home Makeover” and the Michigan Governor’s residence, as well as for museums, botanical gardens, and businesses worldwide. The company, based in Reno, NV, was featured recently in National Public Radio story on wind energy.