New Tech Creates Sustainable Buildings

The Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve, Appleton, Wis., is a 725-acre non-profit nature preserve that connects the community to nature for a healthier, stronger, and more sustainable future. A new 18,000-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art environmental center is expected to be complete in January 2018—and will have an advanced microgrid.

The microgrid will include photovoltaic solar, a hydrogen fuel cell, battery storage, micro turbine, and a natural gas generator, which will enable Bubolz to demonstrate advanced methods of energy conservation in the world, with STEM programs to educate students of all ages.

Faith Technologies, in partnership with Schneider Electric, is engineering and building the microgrid using renewable energy. Faith Technologies is partnering with The Boldt Company on the construction of the building.

Photovoltaic solar is one of the fastest growing energy resources in America. This project brings together distributed energy resources like cogeneration and photovoltaic solar systems. By working together, Bubolz will have an advanced microgrid to maximize its renewable energy on and off the grid. By marrying the Internet of Things to its energy system, the Bubolz microgrid will be able to optimize when it consumes, produces, or stores energy, thereby demonstrating the highest levels of sustainability, reliability, and efficiency through tools.

Other benefits of advanced microgrids and smart grids include the potential to have zero carbon emissions and to achieve 50 percent lifetime power savings. The microgrid will provide power to Bubolz’s main facility, as well as the smaller buildings on the property, while achieving net-zero energy consumption. This is one example of new technology being used to construct a sustainable building.

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