Renewable Energy at Ramsey Middle School
Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) has long been known for its efforts to make its operations energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Louisvillians routinely see school buses powered by biodiesel on the city's roads. Recently, people have started to notice JCPS's newest renewable energy project - the Ramsey Middle School wind turbine.
The 45 foot tall turbine stands behind the school, located just off Billtown Road and is visible even from the Gene Snyder Freeway. The turbine isn't just for show, though. The Skystream 3.7 can generate up to 2.4 kw per hour and is nearly silent while running. It only takes 7-7.5 mph of wind to turn the turbine. Those who see the turbine regularly say that it turns nearly constantly. Part of what makes the turbine so effective is its design, which includes curved blades to decrease noise and a housing shape that allows it to always face into the wind, much like a weather vane does. In addition to generating power, the turbine sends data on power generation to a computer every 15 minutes. The collected data is then made available to the public on the internet.
Wind power isn't the only type of renewable energy being produced at Ramsey Middle School. The school also features a passive solar hot water system. The school's 12-panel, 400 gallon system supplies hot water that has an average temperature of 110 degrees.
The energy systems do more than provide power and hot water to Ramsey Middle School. They are also used as teaching tools wherever possible. Students can learn about the effects of weather and how electricity is generated through these two systems.