Henley’s Renewable Energy Sources Are a Good Value
I am writing in response to February’s Letter to the Editor that questioned the value of the recently installed wind turbine at Henley Middle School. While the Gazette’s article focused primarily on the wind turbine, that structure is only one piece of the Renewable Energy Resource Center that was being dedicated. This Center also includes solar thermal panels that heat 60 percent of the school’s hot water and an array of 182 solar photovoltaic panels.
Additionally, the money for the Center will provide electronic dashboard monitoring—a flatscreen monitor that will provide a constant electronic readout of energy being generated by the various resources. Students at Henley and throughout the county and state will be able to access this information for science and math lessons. And, because the solar panels on the roof will not be accessible to students, two pole-mount panels will be placed in front of the building so that students can use them for experiments. The energy from these two pole-mount panels will power a kinetic sculpture designed and built by Henley art students.
The total cost of the turbine, all materials and installation, was $23,250. The overall cost for all components of the energy center was $280,000, money that was well invested to provide invaluable hands-on learning for students, to lessen Henley’s carbon footprint, and to save Albemarle County Schools thousands of dollars annually.
Librarian and Environmental Coordinator, Henley Middle School