Wind-Power Ops Center Earns LEED Honors

The Bent Tree Wind Farm in Hartland, Minn., is home to 201 megwatts (MW) of wind-power capacity. But its green credentials go further than that: The Bent Tree operations center, owned and operated by Wisconsin Power and Light, an Alliant Energy Company, earned LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED –Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – is a performance-oriented rating system. Projects earn points for satisfying criteria designed to address specific environmental impacts inherent to the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

image via Alliant Energy

The Bent Tree operations center’s design incorporates several green building attributes, including energy efficient lighting and room occupancy sensors, regionally sourced and recycled building materials, and a storm water management system designed to limit disruption and pollution of natural water flows. Overall, the center achieved a 30 percent reduction in water use compared to a building with a conventional water system and a 19.4 percent energy cost reduction compared to a similar building. In addition, 84 percent of the construction waste from the project was recycled.

The building is also powered entirely by wind power – as renewable energy credits generated by the wind-power plant are redeemed by Wisconsin Power and Light in its operation of the center.

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Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).