It was 8.30 am on Earth Day and there were a bunch of students, teachers and visitors standing outside at the Jefferson Middle School all looking up at the sky. Everyone was watching their new wind turbine turning in the wind and generating clean renewable electricity. The wind school project, funded in large part by a grant from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation was finally up and running and working perfectly. The school also received grants from the Jefferson Middle School Green Team, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and the Jefferson Middle School PTSA as well as Jefferson Middle School family donations.
Facts about the turbine:
- The turbine has a rated capacity of 3.5 kW
- The turbine starts turning when the wind reaches 6.7 miles per hour (mph)
- The turbine weighs 363 pounds
- The rotor diameter is 13.4 feet
- The estimated annual yield is between 5,500 and 11,300 kWh
As with any project like this at a school there are a number of champions who guided the project through its various stages. For me, that champion is Geoffrey Freymuth, Jefferson Middle School Science Teacher. He led a team of Jefferson Middle School administrators, teachers and students, but he was the team leader. The Champaign School District is one of the greenest in the country and they were definitely on his team but the person who was watching over and guiding and worrying about this project was Mr Freymuth.
The most interesting thing about the project for me was the qr bar code on the sign that enables anyone with a smart phone to walk up to the sign under the wind turbine and read the wind data. That was such a cool idea. I asked Mr. Freymuth why he added the qr bar code to the sign. “I kept trying to come up with something that would make our project different from the others. Then one night I remembered the qr code. There was a free app for it and we put it on the sign the next day. It was actually pretty easy.”
Let me say that the qr code may have been easy but this project took a lot of hard work from a lot of people and I want to congratulate them on their successful project.