Illinois College Building Green Tech Facility

It can get chilly in Moline, Illinois, which is why Black Hawk College has a tradition of infrastructure that allows students to go from building to building on campus without stepping outside. Now, the school has a new, green addition to that network of connected buildings, the Black Hawk Sustainable Technologies Building.

According to KWQC, the college recently broke this $3.7 million, 13,000-square-foot facility, which will be home to both classrooms and lab space.  Green features include a 11 kilowatt wind turbine, a 48-well geothermal field to heat and cool building, two 20-panel solar arrays, a green roof, solar thermal heating (to supplement a hot water heater) and natural daylighting throughout.

Black Hawk College Sustainable Technologies Building

image via Black Hawk College

Black Hawk College reports that the building will be home to its new Materials Science Technology and Sustainable Technologies programs, giving students an opportunity to learn about renewable energy even as they experience it powering and heating their classrooms. (Since 2008, Black Hawk College has offered a certificate program in Sustainable Energy.)

The college anticipates that construction will be complete in April of 2012.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • It’s great that more colleges and universities are adopting clean energy systems. It not only reinforces the validity of these systems, but it provides needed visibility, too. Check out what the NFL is doing along the same lines:u00a0

    • Jeff

      So far, the wind turbine has been in operation for 4 months and has produced approximately $300 in electricity. I’ll make a perhaps unreasonable assumption that this output can be extrapolated to produce $900 of electricity per year. The wind turbine cost 70k and the engineering and construction associated with it more than likely cost another 50k. At this point the payback period will be on the order of a century. With an estimated lifespan of 30 years, this was simply an all around bad investment.

      • Pete

        Thanks for the update, Jeff. Any idea why the turbine produced nearly 2,000 kWh in April alone and just 500 in the three months since then? Characteristic of the wind patterns there? Turbines like that with proper height — I believe it is 120 feet tall — often do much better than 9,000 kWh/year. It might take a full year, going through all the seasons, to know the turbine’s true production. Also, note that the turbine would have been eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit, which under 1603 could be taken as a cash grant. And I believe Iowa has a 1 1/2-cent PTC for small wind. All that would help the cost equation, but whether it would make the turbine a good investment or not, I’m not sure. As I reported in my story about Alec Baldwin’s proposed turbine (which, incidentally, was said to be not nearly as expensive as this one), the key to small wind is access to good wind, having good tower height, and offsetting high electricity rates.
        Pete Danko

        • Jeff

          As the turbine just came into service a few months ago, perhaps the turbine suffered significant down-time during these months. However, having been a student at Black Hawk for 4 years, as an anecdote I can say that this location is not particularly windy, especially in comparison to other wind farm locations I’ve visited. My gut feeling is that this whole facility was not very well planned and was nothing more than a way for the school’s administration to grab some NSF grant money while cashing in on the green energy boom.

          • Pete

            Ah. It’s always unfortunate when wind small wind is deployed in appropriately. Gaia, the turbine maker, has the live data from a couple of sites in the UK that are generating far more power with the very same turbine — one averaging close to 4,000 kWh per month! That would pencil out….