|The Kettle Pond Visitor Center utilizes alternative energy sources, natural lighting and recycled materials. Photo: USFWS. Download.|
In a state whose motto is “Hope,” Rhode Island national wildlife refuges are working toward a brighter future by conserving energy and reducing their carbon footprint through use of alternative energy sources, natural lighting and recycled materials.
The 14,000 square foot Kettle Pond Visitor Center building at theRhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex recently installed a photovoltaic system on the roof to harness clean energy from the sun. This solar power system is projected to produce about 37,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year—about 25 percent of the center’s annual power use.
“Using energy from the sun is one of the many steps being taken on the national wildlife refuges in Rhode Island to conserve and reduce our use of energy from traditional sources of fossil fuel,” said Janis Nepshinsky, visitor services manager for the Refuge Complex.
The center also gets energy from the earth through a geothermal heating and cooling system that uses the earth’s constant underground temperature to heat and cool the building. These systems are among the most efficient heating and cooling technologies available, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.