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Wind turbines to generate power for new football stadium

Mean Green Stadium construction April 2011UNT received a $2 million grant from the State Energy Conservation Office to install three wind turbines that will feed the electrical grid that provides power to the new football stadium and other buildings on the west side of Interstate 35E.

The stadium is the first collegiate stadium designed to incorporate onsite renewable energy. The turbines are expected to be installed by the end of the year. Above, west side construction.

The wind turbines will be located southwest of the new stadium, and aligned approximately parallel to Bonnie Brae Street. The turbines will be on the east side of Bonnie Brae.

The 30,000 seat stadium, which will replace 57-year-old Fouts Field, is designed by award-winning architects HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, the firm that designed Dallas Cowboys Stadium. The UNT System will seek LEED Gold or Platinum certification. If the project is awarded LEED Platinum, it will be the first of its type to achieve this rating in the country.

The new stadium will be the centerpiece in UNT's Mean Green Village. In addition to hosting UNT events, it will serve the entire North Texas region as a venue for outdoor concerts, community events, high school games and band competitions.

It is estimated that the three wind turbines will offset the energy consumption of Mean Green Village, the area of campus surrounding the new stadium, by about 6 percent and eliminate 323 metric tons of carbon dioxide being emitted annually. The turbines will be visible from I-35E and I-35W providing visual evidence of UNT's commitment to sustainability.

A web-based monitoring system will provide details on energy production, carbon reduction statistics and empirical data that can be used for both educational and research purposes. Designed for low wind conditions, the community-scale 100kW wind turbines are well suited for the North Texas region, which has a wind speed average of approximately 12 mph.

Unlike the very large turbines generally found at wind farms, community-scale turbines are considerably smaller and ideal for municipalities, schools, neighborhoods and universities.  The approximate noise level of the turbines is 55 decibels at 40 meters (131 feet), which is equivalent to that of a normal conversation between two people.

The effort by the staff of the UNT System and the university to win the grant underscores our commitment to creating a carbon-neutral campus," says V. Lane Rawlins, president. "Our university has a 50-year legacy of environmental research and sustainability and we're proud to be the first university in Texas to install wind turbines on campus."

"The construction of wind turbines at UNT will be an invaluable asset to the university and surrounding communities," says Richard Escalante, vice chancellor for administrative services. "The reduction in carbon emissions from the use of fossil fuels will be a collective benefit for the entire North Texas region. Sustainable initiatives, such as the use of renewable energy technologies, ensure that future generations of the UNT and Denton communities are equipped with the necessary tools to continue economic expansion while simultaneously protecting the environment and human health."

Raynard Kearbey, associate vice chancellor for system facilities, will oversee design and construction of the stadium and wind turbines.

"These wind turbines will give UNT a trifecta of benefits," noted Chris Mundell, sustainable design manager with HKS DesignGreen, the firm selected for the project by the UNT System Board of Regents.  "They will be an innovative educational tool for students and faculty. The turbines also will be a symbol of sustainability for all the stadium's spectators. Lastly, they help offset energy consumption of the new stadium, making it one of the most energy efficient in the country."   

(Photo by Jonathan Reynolds)

Posted on: Tue 10 May 2011

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