Nature’s Classroom: Mission Accomplished
6 Solar Electric Systems and a Wind Turbine
A full 98% of the nonprofit’s electricity comes from renewables.
At Nature’s Classroom in Charlton, MA, the move to renewable energy was an easy and logical one. Six solar energy systems and a wind turbine, all but one designed and installed by New England Clean Energy, provide cost savings and align perfectly with the non-profit environmental educational organization’s mission: to teach and practice sustainable environmental habits.
Programs at Nature’s Classroom are geared for elementary and middle school students, and emphasize scientific inquiry and critical thinking. The organization’s renewable energy systems provide a powerful visual of a commitment to renewable energy for the students, staff, and visitors on site.
Renewable energy started small at Nature’s Classroom, but grew at a steady pace. In 2006, a 9-kilowatt (kW) solar energy system was installed. Then, in 2009, New England Clean Energy erected a 100-kW wind turbine.
John Santos, founder and director of Nature’s Classroom, explains that he was so pleased with the cost savings and environmental benefits that he turned to New England Clean Energy to engineer, design, and install additional solar energy systems. “They are a good organization to work with, so there was no question of who to call.”
In 2010, New England Clean Energy installed a 15-kW solar energy system on the East Lodge, and in 2013, a 66-kW system on the West Lodge. Two years later, the East Lodge system was expanded with a 50.4-kW system, and a 12.8-kW system was put on the “Red House”, both on the main campus in Charlton.
Doug McCartney, CEO of New England Clean Energy, believes that this “speaks volumes to their confidence in New England Clean Energy, as they have asked us to install multiple systems at their Charlton location.”
The most recent solar energy system installed by New England Clean Energy is a 68-kW ground mount on the “Pond Side” of campus.
The benefits and cost savings are evident. Since the new system came online in May 2017, 98% of the expansive 500-acre facility’s electricity now comes from renewables.
Most important for Santos is that respect for the environment, renewable energy, and long term cost savings work in unison to realize Nature’s Classroom’s mission.