Soaring 150 feet into the air, Cleveland's landmark wind turbine sits majestically on the front lawn of the Great Lakes Science Center. Visible to pedestrians, motorists, downtown workers and visitors, the turbine makes a dramatic statement about the viability of advanced energy for our region.
The wind turbine provides approximately seven percent of the Great Lake Science Center’s annual electrical needs. Requiring a breeze of eight miles per hour to begin generating power, the 26-ton wind turbine achieves its peak output of 225 kilowatts at wind speeds of 31 miles per hour.
Energy cost-saving, however, is not the primary reason the turbine was installed. The Great Lakes Science Center uses the turbine as a tangible way to demonstrate wind power technology, create greater public awareness of renewable energy and educate visitors about the benefits of advanced energy. The turbine also serves as a working science experiment and provides a way for the Great Lakes Science Center to share an authentic science experience with its guests.
Inside the Great Lakes Science Center, related exhibits feature interpretive panels detailing Cleveland's connection to the earliest history of wind turbine technology and NASA Glenn's role in modern developments. Visitors can interact with a touch screen kiosk displaying both real-time and historical data. The touch screen kiosk includes data on wind speed, power generated over time and the amount of carbon dioxide not generated for the power equivalent.
The turbine was made possible through a collaboration with The Cleveland Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, Parker Hannifin Corporation and the Lubrizol Corporation. The turbine contains Parker Hannifin components and Lubrizol products to help it operate effectively and efficiently. Both of these local companies, who are at the forefront of wind technology, use the wind turbine to monitor performance of their materials, to test those materials and to make changes when necessary to improve performance.
Commissioned by the Great Lakes Science Center and Cleveland Public Art, renowned artists Allan & Ellen Wexler created a permanent educational public art installation surrounding the wind turbine. Titled Shadow and Light, the installation utilizes art as a tool for educating, inspiring, and engaging the public while demystifying wind power and its potential for the Greater Cleveland region.
Highlighting the connection between art and science, Shadow and Light features two pedestrian concrete pathways. The actual shadow of the turbine at solar noon each day and two hours and 11 minutes later aligns with the pathways. On the day of the spring and fall equinox, the length of the shadow will also align. The “shadow pathways” converge at a piazza ringing the turbine's base. The piazza also contains a grouping of boxes of light bulbs cast in cement and formed into seating blocks.
Designed to provide an immediate, meaningful experience to anyone who approaches, the 300 foot solar array canopy at the entrance to the Great Lakes Science Center represents the organization's second advanced energy initiative. Coupled with the wind turbine, this highly visible signature exhibit serves as an example of the Great Lakes Science Center's commitment to educating the public about the benefits of renewable energy technologies in our region.
The 156 photovoltaic panels that form the solar array canopy are capable of producing 31.2kW of energy and provide enough power to light all of the Great Lakes Science Center's 65,000 square feet of exhibition space for one hour. During the course of a year, the solar array produces an average of approximately 100kWh per day, the equivalent of the average electricity needed for four Ohio homes or up to eight energy-efficient homes.
Inside the Great Lakes Science Center, an interior touch-screen kiosk provides both real-time and historical data visualizations, including power generated over time, and the amount of carbon dioxide not generated for the power equivalent.
The solar array is made possible through funding from Cleveland Foundation, Ferro Corporation and the U.S. Department of Energy. Additional partners include Panzica Construction, Doty & Miller Architects and GE Energy.
Great Lakes Science Center expresses its gratitude...
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