Wind Works! EcoTecture Begins Preparation For Wind Energy : 6.26.09

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©2009 NCL Magazine : Photo By Tommy Stafford : Steve Crandall, founder of EcoTecture, stands atop Devils Backbone Brewing Company where NCL and DBBC have their Weathernet Station measuring wind speed and other weather readings. Click any photo to enlarge.
©2009 NCL Magazine : Photo By Tommy Stafford : Steve Crandall, founder of EcoTecture, stands atop Devils Backbone Brewing Company where NCL and DBBC have their Weathernet Station measuring wind speed and other weather readings. Click any photo to enlarge.

Roseland/Beech Grove
Nelson County, Virginia

By Jennie Tal

Once upon a time, the wind was a scary, mysterious thing. Over the years, it has been used to sail ships in international waters, grind grain in the Netherlands and even pump water right here in Nelson.

But if Steve Crandall of Tectonics and EcoTecture has anything to do with it, the wind of the future is going to power the world – or at least help power the County.

Steve’s company has been using energy conservation tools in its custom built homes for about a decade now. Before green energy was big, Tectonics’ houses had condition crawl spaces and attics, eco-friendly windows and roofs, improved insulation systems and even, more recently, photovoltaic (or solar) energy.

Now Steve is taking earth-friendliness to the next level by installing wind turbines in ideal locations around Nelson.

Steve helps hoist a wind turbine up at a recent training school in Arizona.
Steve helps hoist a wind turbine up at a recent training school in Arizona.

While Virginia isn’t technically a great state to install turbines – it’s not historically windy – Nelson County, said Steve, is ideal because of it’s placement in the mountains. His company has already found several spots with an average wind speed of 10 miles per hour – the wind speed necessary to make an effective turbine.

Measurements taken from the NCL-Devils Backbone Brewing Weathernet station (a coop between DBBC and Nelson County Life Magazine) show some pretty impressive wind speeds at times. Gust of near 35 MPH have already been recorded for the month of June with average speeds around 8-10 MPH.

Steve said the county is working aggressively to approve an ordinance to allow wind turbine installation and he hopes to begin working on several by late this summer.

The West Coast is full of wind turbines. Steve said they are just part of the landscape now and he hopes the East Coast is not far behind.

Steve said using the resources we already have is not only going to help save the earth, but it can save people big bucks, too.

“If you look at the wind from a wind turbine standpoint, you’re just seeing dollars blowing across the sky,” he said. “And we can capture that and generate electricity.”

So, said Steve, who studied the installation of turbines at a 4-day seminar in Arizona, the total package includes more comfort, more enjoyment, less maintenance, fewer dollars spent on energy and a more intelligent house.

Steve working on a wind tubine assembly in Arizona earlier this year.
Steve working on a wind tubine assembly in Arizona earlier this year.

Yes, he acknowledged that there are some costs associated with installing the systems, but he also said the government is standing behind alternative energy and offering tax credits to those who use solar or wind energy – and the benefits last a lifetime.

“The great thing about installing one of these today is, obviously you get the federal tax credits on it, but putting these in is a hedge against future energy costs,” he said, estimating that the cost of energy as we know it today will rise rapidly during the next few decades.

“Wind is just out there blowing around,” he said. “It’s free!”

Learn more about Steve Crandall’s EcoTecture over at www.virginiaturbine.com

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