HAMDEN, Connecticut, October 27, 2009 (ENS) – The first of 25 Windspire vertical wind turbines are now being installed at the first university micro-wind farm in the country.

The sculptural metal forms at Quinnipiac University’s new York Hill Campus look decorative but are really practical – they will power more than 50 percent of the exterior lights on the 250-acre campus.

The Windspire turbines, clustered together beside the main walkway connecting a new parking garage to a new resident hall and student center, use extension poles that vary in height from 35 to 45 feet, providing an effect like a kinetic sculpture garden rather than intrusive infrastructure.

The Windspire wind turbine is a low-cost, low-noise wind power appliance for use in urban, suburban, rural and remote locations. Manufactured in the United States by Mariah Power, Windspire turbines are propeller-free, vertical-axis designs that maximize energy conversion from wind into electric power, regardless of changing wind speed and direction.

Windspires on the Quinnipiac University wind terrace (Photo courtesy QU)

The Quinnipiac wind terrace creates a destination for students to take in panoramic views of Long Island Sound to the south and rolling hills to the north.

The Windspires are part of a broader sustainability initiative at the new campus that includes solar powered bus stops, alternative transportation, and water efficiency practices such as rainwater harvesting and low flow plumbing fixtures.

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

The York Hill Campus was designed by Centerbrook Architects, a design firm with a long history of using renewable energy and sustainable building practices.

Centerbrook helped the university to develop a strategy that includes a focus on indoor environmental quality, materials and resources, energy and green power, water efficiency, biodiversity, and education and environmental awareness.

“We have designed many state of the art initiatives on this new seminal green campus for Quinnipiac University, but the wind turbine terrace will be the most prominent and exciting statement about the University¬ís commitment to sustainable practices,” said Centerbrook’s Jeff Riley. “The technology and vertical axis design of the Windspire allowed us to place wind power right in the center of campus.”

Riley said, “the unique grouping of Windspires will serve not only as a visible symbol of sustainability, but also as an intriguing kinetic sculpture beneath which students will be able to sit and take in the panoramic views of the Connecticut hills. It¬ís one of a kind.”

Known for its independent Polling Institute, the university’s commitment to sustainable strategies also includes an education and environmental awareness program.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2009. All rights reserved.