Tuesday, March 29, 2011

CGD Club Creates School Pride Turbine T-shirts

MWCC's Computer Graphic Design Club is putting a new spin on going green, with a T-shirt design celebrating the college's wind energy project. All proceeds from T-shirt sales will go toward student scholarship funds.  

The design features a silhouette of the college, the two wind turbines and a word cloud. The word cloud contains the phrase "Catch the Wind-Innovation is a Breeze," along with additional words to describe the college's energy initiatives. 

"We knew it was a big opportunity," said Noah Chicoine, who helped create the design along with Doug York and Jon Skinner. Club members worked on the slogan ideas, coming up with Innovation is a Breeze, and will continue to volunteer selling the T-shirts.

The project began in November as a collaborative effort between the CGD Club, Leslie Cullen, chair of the Computer Graphic Design program and the club's advisor, and the Marketing and Communications Department, to highlight school pride for the wind project. 

"This was the best collaborative effort of the club and the most rewarding," said Cullen, adding that the students acted as junior graphic designers in a real-life design firm. 

T-shirts are available for $15 to $17 and can be ordered in light blue and pear green in women's sizes and light blue and stonewashed green for men's and unisex sizes. Club members will be taking orders through 3 p.m. on Monday, April 4. To order a shirt, complete an order form and a check made out to MWCC – CGD and drop them off in the college’s Marketing and Communications Department, room 118.

Order forms can be found online at  www.mwcc.edu/turbinetshirt. A receipt will be sent via email upon payment for your order. Shirts can be picked up on Wednesday, April 20 in the cafeteria hallway from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, or to make alternative arrangements for pick-up, contact Associate Professor Leslie Cullen at l_cullen@mwcc.mass.edu or 978-630-9347.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Green Light for Green Energy: MWCC's Turbines Activated

With optimal weather conditions and a green light from national Grid, Mount Wachusett Community College actviated its two wind turbines on March 25.

College officials received confirmation from the utility company, following National Grid's review of data collected during a successful witness test on March 18. Vestas technicians activated the twin turbines in the early afternoon, and northwest winds of 22 miles per hour immediately aided in producing energy for the college. During the break-in period, the turbines will run intermittently.

Together, the Vestas V82 turbines will meet 97-percent of the college's electricity consumption, while also generating revenue for the college by returning approximately 30 percent of the power generated back to the grid.

"The wind project caps off a solid decade of renewable energy initiatives that to date have already reduced the college's energy consumption by half at a significant benefit to the environment, as well," MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino said. "With the addition of wind power, we enter a new era of sustainability."

In addition to wind energy, the college's energy initiatives include biomass heating, photovoltaic solar, and solar hot water, as well as a series of conservation measures throughout the 450,000-square-foot campus buildings.

"It's wonderful to see those puppies spinning," instructor and advisor Bob Mayer remarked. "I think it's great!"

A dedication ceremony is planned for April 27.

The wind energy projects at MWCC and at the North Central Correctional Institution, also in Gardner, are a joint collaboration of the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and the Department of Energy Resources to achieve the renewable energy goals of Gov. Deval Patrick's Leading by Example program.

MWCC's $9 million wind project is being funded through a variety of sources, including $3.2 million in U.S. Department of Energy grants secured by Congressman John Olver; $2.1 million from a low interest Clean Renewal Energy Bond (CREB) made available through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act; and $3.7 million from Massachusetts Clean Energy Investment Bonds.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Witness Test

National Grid conducted its witness test of MWCC’s turbines today, a process that involves reviewing all circuitry, electrical connections and mechanisms to ensure they run properly.
“Everything they’ve done so far looks good,” said an elated Ed Terceiro, MWCC’s resident engineer. As part of the process, both turbines were powered up. At one point, it was noted that the south turbine had already generated 1 megawatt of electricity for the college. By the afternoon, both turbines were spinning for a while as the testing continued.
National Grid will review the test reports and notify the college when the turbines can be turned back on, most likely within a week or so, Terceiro said. At first, the turbines will run intermittently as they are conditioned, before running steadily.
Appropriately, it was a very windy day. According to the National Weather Service, strong west to northwest winds accompanied a cold front in the afternoon, generating wind speeds between 11 and 14 mph and gusts as high as 34 mph. Bring it!