October 23, 2013
Texas Tech University’s Llano River Field Station (LRFS) in Junction recently received a $230,000 Innovative Energy Demonstration Grant from the Office of the Texas State Comptroller’s Energy Conservation Office to help fund the installation of solar panels and a wind turbine.
The field station was one of 10 institutions to receive part of the $2 million in grants this year. It also received a $50,000 matching grant from Texas Tech, which will pay to replace inefficient single-pane windows in the two facilities.
This project makes the Administration and Academic Buildings at the field station the first at Texas Tech to run on renewable energy, using sun and wind.
“We are developing a Discovery Point Trail system and will have best management practices and demonstration stops along the trail,” said Tom Arsuffi, director of the field station. “The renewable energy solar panels, solar tracker and wind turbine will be components of the trail. We have 120 solar panels in a block on one building, 27 panels forming the Double T on another building, and 12 panels on the solar tracker. In total, they will supply 100 percent of the energy requirements of the two buildings and save $500,000 in utility costs during a 25-year period.”
The LRFS is located in the West Texas Hill Country and is rated as “great” on the wind and solar estimator scale for alternative energy choices, said Robert Stubblefield, director of operations at the campus.
These two buildings were selected because they account for 25 percent of the overall electrical usage at the center. Previous site visits from energy consultants deemed these two buildings as prime sites for building envelope improvements to improve their overall energy efficiency.
Arsuffi said using solar panels and wind turbines to help power some of the facilities can provide multiple education, public outreach and training pathways on renewable energy, not only as a teaching and research opportunity for the LRFS, but also for the Texas Hill Country region.
Along with becoming part of the Discovery Point biodiversity trail, researchers will develop a renewable energy and conservation curriculum unit for a holistic, adaptive, standard-based natural resource, science and GLOBE K-12 education program at Texas Tech University’s Outdoor School (TTU OS) at the Llano River Field Station. The Outdoor School is a state and national award-winning program has taught science technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses to 15,000 students and hundreds of teachers in the past 10 years.
“We will partner with departments and colleges on the main campus, including Texas Tech University Engineering, Arts and Sciences, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Education and Architecture for class field trips to learn about the LRFS renewable energy project in the context of conservation and sustainability of natural resources,” Arsuffi said.
The buildings go online Oct. 15.
CONTACT: Tom Arsuffi, director of the Llano River Field Station, Texas Tech University at Junction, (325) 446-2301, or firstname.lastname@example.org.