Education about sustainability and renewable energy will be the highlight of a new project through a partnership with Indian Creek Nature Center, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As part of their Amazing Space campaign, we will install a cutting-edge solar power system to provide energy for the Nature Center’s new learning center.
Solar energy is key in making the new building sustainable and educational. An online reference portal will provide the public with real-time information on how much energy the solar panels are generating, and how that generation interacts with the needs of the Nature Center and the energy grid. This portal will be hosted on our website and Indian Creek Nature Center’s website. The online reference portal will be available after construction is complete, which is expected in 2016.
“We are excited to take this next step in a long history of partnership with Indian Creek Nature Center,” said Doug Kopp, president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility. “This effort will provide our customers with a new way to learn what it takes to become sustainable and how solar energy can help.”
The Nature Center’s current building features a 3.6 kilowatt (kW) solar system that they own, and we helped them develop in 2003. The solar energy system at the new building will be sized to match the energy needs of the entire structure, which is expected to be between 70 and 100 kW. We will own the new solar energy system.
“By producing all of the energy needed for the building on site, we will be one of very few buildings in America to be NetZero,” said John Myers, Indian Creek Nature Center executive director. “Becoming NetZero energy is a key component to achieving the Living Building Challenge. Our long-term partner, Alliant Energy, will help us demonstrate renewable technologies and educate the public on responsible energy use.”
A certified Living Building is self-sufficient for energy and water for at least 12 continuous months. It must also meet rigorous standards for green materials and indoor environmental quality.
“We are proud that Alliant Energy is a lead partner in our Amazing Space campaign,” said Myers. “As our community comes together, we are creating knowledge and respect to power our future.”
This project is part of a 15-year educational partnership, and represents our first solar energy generation site.