Friday, May 03, 2013

Welcome to the coal state -- and our cool, energy-efficient welcome center

Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center
Join the Wyoming Office of Tourism, the Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources and the Wyoming Arts Council at a ceremony to dedicate WIND CODE, a sculpture by Laramie artist Stan Dolega, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 4, Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center, north entrance, exit 4 off I-25.

Stan’s sculpture was funded through the Wyoming Art in Public Buildings. It's a great addition to the very cool Welcome Center building, which uses alternative energy sources to supply most of its power. According to its architectural firm:
The design team harnessed sunlight and wind to deliver nearly 40 kW of zero-emissions power—enough to offset more than half of the building's electrical demand. Photovoltaic (solar) panels on the roof and walls of the building generate approximately 27 kW of electricity, while five on-site wind turbines provide the balance of renewable power.

The welcome center's HVAC system was built around a ground source heat pump (geo-exchange) system that utilizes the relatively constant temperature of the earth to provide efficient building heating and cooling and features more than 11 miles of heat-transferring geo-exchange coils buried beneath the 26.6-acre project site. Thermal displacement ventilation—a low-energy-use air distribution system in which incoming air originates low in the space and rises in thermal plumes to exhaust outlets at the ceiling—was implemented for the public and office portions of the facility. In addition to saving energy, thermal displacement ventilation enhances indoor air quality and thermal comfort for building occupants.

Daylight harvesting, which optimizes the amount of healthy natural light brought into building spaces while limiting the use of electric lighting, was enhanced by the welcome center's long axis and relatively narrow width. High-efficiency electric lighting supplements natural daylight when necessary.
Stan Dolega's "Wind Code" sculpture
This ceremony will be part of a 9 a.m.-3 p.m. open house at the Welcome Center celebrating the beginning of National Travel and Tourism Week in Wyoming. Visit the many interactive displays inside which highlights Wyoming's culture, history and energy sources. Interesting to note that this week Gov. Matt Mead announced that Wyoming will mine its ten billionth ton of coal in May. More and more of our coal is destined for China although Washington and Oregon are in a snit about letting thousands of coal trains travel through their bobo urban neighborhoods. Hey, what's not to like about a spritz of coal dust on your mocha latte?

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