BHSU has installed an anemometer above
the roof of Woodburn Hall, the highest point on campus, to record wind speeds in an effort to support wind energy possibilities.

Black Hills State University has installed an anemometer above
the roof of Woodburn Hall, the highest point on campus, to record wind speeds in an effort to support wind energy possibilities.

The anemometer is the brainchild of Brett Kavanaugh, a graduating senior who has served as president of BHSU's Wildlife Club.

The anemometer will be used for measuring wind speeds on campus to support the possible installation of wind turbines. This first step, a "wind survey," will provide information about the quality and availability of the winds blowing above the campus.

Kavanaugh, a biology student from Rapid City, approached faculty members with the idea of setting up a wind turbine to help power the university. After discussions with Dr. Andy Johnson, associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Math and Science Education, a weather station was obtained and funds from the Wildlife Club were used to install the mast and equipment that will establish baseline data. Data collection has begun, and during some windy weather in early May, gusts were already measured with speeds close to 40 miles per hour. The investigators plan to compare their data with wind measurements made elsewhere in Spearfish.

"The Black Hills State University campus has a lot of wind available. It just makes sense to use some of it to help provide electric power to campus," Kavanaugh says. “We will collect data on the temperature, barometer, wind chill, and precipitation amounts. This serves as a great educational tool for students as well.”

Kavanaugh and Johnson hope that the wind data collected will help planners determine the scale and types of wind turbines that would be most useful.

This is one of many steps the BHSU campus has taken in support of sustainability.

Johnson noted that BHSU is taking the lead in sustainability. BHSU was the first South Dakota University to join the American College and University President's Climate Commitment, a consortium of 600 universities across the nation dedicated sustainability concerns.

"President Schallenkamp's commitment to making BHSU more sustainable provides us with the kind of leadership we need to prepare for the future,” Johnson says.

The addition and remodeling project of the Student Union and the new science building at BHSU will both be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver certified. The Student Union is expected to become a model for the demonstration of energy efficiencies and an educational tool for BHSU students and others in the community. Some of these components include a garden roof, a vertical wind turbine, solar panels, and other energy efficiencies.

Other “green” initiatives at BHSU include:

  • Establishment of a bike sharing program to encourage students, faculty, and staff to use bike transportation as a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to driving.
  • Installation of solar panels at two of the BHSU stone entry signs to provide lighting.
  • An environmentally beneficial swale in the new student parking lot. The swale captures storm water from the parking lot and uses it for irrigation rather than filling up the storm sewers.
  • The possibility of the addition of a wood-fired boiler to campus.
  • A successful longstanding effort to reduce energy costs throughout campus, including the purchase of energy efficient appliances, window replacements, retrocommissioning, motion sensors on the lights in classrooms, installation of a more efficient thermostat system, and renovation of bathrooms to decrease water usage.
  • An effort to encourage all faculty, staff, and students to consider the impact on the environment before printing materials and to print double-sided when possible.
  • Several student groups at BHSU are choosing environmental related community service projects.
  • Designation of the Madeline Young Speaker Series to focus primarily on bringing in speakers on sustainability. The first speaker was Annabelle Gurwitch, host of a national reality show that encourages green living. Plans are being made for another speaker this fall.
  • Staff in the Network and Computer Services Department at BHSU are taking steps to reduce energy usage with new technology strategies.
  • Establish server virtualization, hosting multiple “virtual computers” on a single physical host reduces the number of actual servers and the amount of energy consumed by these servers by 75 percent. (Estimated average annual savings of $25,000 on cooling costs and server electricity).
  • Institute power management saving features on computers (shutting the power off after 30 minutes of non-use).
  • Support electronic documentation instead of printed materials whenever possible, and the use of online forms to reduce paper usage.