At a time when global warming and the greenhouse effect are household terms, wind power which can offer a secure source of electricity, is becoming increasingly important in both local and worldwide debates about future power needs.
Forbes Park, the earth friendly residential “eco-lofts” being developed on the 18 acres of former industrial waterfront property in Chelsea, Massachusetts, has tapped Boreal Renewable Energy Development to collect data and measure the available wind resource in consideration of adding a wind turbine to supply the majority of the new community’s energy needs.
“The feasibility study we are conducting at Forbes Park will estimate the economic, regulatory and environmental viability of installing a wind turbine to offset electricity usage at the new state-of-the art green condominium complex,” explains Boreal’s Bob Shatten. “By utilizing wind energy at Forbes Park, existing fossil-fuel sources of electricity are displaced and there is an overall improvement to regional air quality. This is good for both the environment and Chelsea.”
Securing this reliable source of energy is just one example of the clean and green approach to development at Forbes Park. Constructed using durable materials in the recycled industrial buildings on the site, the condominiums are earth friendly and feature heavy use of passive solar heat and passive cooling via large hopper-style windows to maximize natural light and air, as well as rain-water capture and reuse systems, to name a few. Additionally, roughly 12 acres of the site will be preserved for “wildlife habitat creation,’ ensuring a home among the salt-marsh and coastal grassland for critical populations of migratory birds and spawning fish.
Chelsea’s Senator Jarrett Barrios, a strong proponent of renewable energy alternatives, shares, “The team at Forbes Park “˜gets it.’ They are not only revitalizing a long-forgotten Chelsea neighborhood, but their addition of a wind turbine to meet the needs of this virtual island just off Crescent Street will serve as a symbol for the clean and green approach at Forbes.”
The installed meteorologic tower atop the main building includes anemometers presently performing data analysis to gauge the site’s wind resources. After a period of time, results will determine the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of adding a wind turbine at Forbes Park to offset electrical costs in the community. In addition to the analysis of wind resources, Boreal will perform analysis of site characteristics, environmental impact and regulatory analysis and economic pro-forma evaluation for the recommended alternative.
When asked about possible drawbacks to adding a wind turbine to the area, Shatten notes, “Most concerns center around possible noise or danger to birds. Given the improvements to the construction of turbines, the noise factor is minimal, often likened to the sound of a home refrigerator. As for birds, on average wind turbines harm about two birds per year. Though not desirable, by comparison to other man-made and natural threats such as the household cat, this is not considered significant.”
In addition to the energy efficient systems mentioned above, Forbes Park also features one-of-a-kind green incentives that not only save the earth, but save money. Features include units built almost entirely of durable, natural and renewable materials, including re-use of existing brick walls and concrete floors to soak in sunshine by day and slowly dissipate this free heat by night; radiant concrete floors supplemented by a common “whole building” heating system with central boilers which will operate at greater efficiency and offer lower fuel costs per unit. Another notable feature is the fleet of electrically powered shared cars, charged nightly by excess wind power and available on-demand, thereby affording residents the opportunity to cut back to a single vehicle or none at all.
Development of Forbes Park is moving along quickly. Urban Design & Development has recently secured construction financing for all phases of development with Amalgamated Bank’s Longview Ultra national union pension fund. James Bill, with Urban, shares, “With this important milestone behind us, we are able to jump into design, building and pre-construction sales with the confidence of knowing the money and labor are there to make our vision for Forbes Park a reality.”
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