Demonstrating Sustainable Energy Practices at Residential Environmental Learning Centers (RELCs)
Eagle Bluff’s work plan is for both Eagle Bluff’s portion of this project and for the overall management of the project as a whole.
Collectively, six Residential Environmental Learning Centers (RELCs – Audubon Center, Deep Portage, Eagle Bluff, Laurentian, Long Lake and Wolf Ridge) will reduce their carbon footprints while disseminating energy education that focuses on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation options. The centers, supported by Bush and Butler foundations, chose to invest in a professional energy audit utilizing the engineering and consulting firm McKinstry. The audits evaluated existing buildings, technologies, and energy uses at each centers’ location and resulted in state-of-the-art recommendations for conservation and energy efficiency measures, renewable energy possibilities, and demonstration opportunities. Due to the variations of each center’s location the suggested solutions represent a variety of options and make the combined effort important for statewide dissemination. McKinstry’s study is the basis for our collective energy investment and education development request.
The ENRTF grant will allow the RELCs to: 1) Increase conservation measures and energy efficiency at each center; 2) invest in renewable energies using appropriate technologies for each center; and 3) conduct multi-faceted educational outreach at all centers. A web consultant will design and construct a website showing each center’s energy related information for educational use while providing statewide verification of the engineering and installation results.
Each school, college, and adult that attends a center will be exposed to knowledge about choices, energy, conservation, and options that are important and applicable to their home, family and schools. In 10 years this collective education program would reach 840,000 people and annually affect 596 K-12 schools and 46 colleges.
Specifically at Eagle Bluff we will implement McKinstry recommendations to reduce the energy consumption in our most energy inefficient building by up to 80% and to install solar hot water and photovaic systems for demonstration purposes. These improvements will be used during educational activities involving the New ERA—Energy Resource Advisor Program being developed in conjunction with Winona State University. More information about the New ERA program is found in Section VII, DISSEMINATION.
Over ten years, approximately 220,000 participants will benefit from Eagle Bluff programming.
Eagle Bluff will coordinate the collective efforts of the six centers to achieve Results 2, 3, and 4.
$1,500,000 is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for agreements as follows: $206,000 with Audubon Center of the North Woods; $212,000 with Deep Portage Learning Center; $350,000 with Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center; $258,000 with Laurentian Environmental Learning Center; $240,000 with Long Lake Conservation Center; and $234,000 with Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center to implement renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy conservation practices at the facilities. Efforts will include dissemination of related energy education.