This report is a renewable energy analysis for an intentional community, Wild Mountain, who would like to decrease their dependence on fossil fuel sources for energy. The homestead’s goal is to further move toward targets of environmental sustainability and eco-justice. Our methods involved a partial energy audit recording the energy usage at the homestead, focusing on the electricity usage, and energy consumption used for heating. Three renewable energy sources were researched and evaluated to assess their viability for offsetting estimated fossil-fuel based energy usage. These three technologies are solar electricity production, methane digestion, and compost heap heating. Calculations and data synthesis were conducted to determine the best energy options for Wild Mountain. These calculations mainly centered around total energy usage, the corresponding greenhouse house emission equivalents, and inputs available at the homestead for the renewable technologies. Synthesis involved taking the calculations to construct energy production scenarios and other determinants of the data; from this recommendations are given on the viability of the renewable technologies being implemented at Wild Mountain. Significant assumptions for data, calculations, and other parts of the project are outlined in the appendices, in order to make the report’s main body more concise.
Overall energy usage was found to be 145.41 mmBTUs/year of the parts of the energy usage studied. Attached to this number is the greenhouse emissions equivalents 24319.3 kg CO 2 equivalents. For organic inputs available at the homestead 35295 pounds per year is computed. Solar energy calculations focused on the number of panels necessary to produce electrical energy at certain levels of the homestead’s electrical usage. A 9-panel system that would offsetting a minimum portion of the electrical use that the co-operative wanted to focus on, and a 19-panel system that covers all the known electrical usage. The methane digester depending on design could produce substantial amount of energy. Compost Heap Heating was found to have a theoretical maximum energy production of 163.8 mmBTU per year using the organic inputs available from the homestead.
To help conceptualize the results, scenarios involving the implementation of the renewable technologies were constructed to further analyze which renewable technologies would be more ideal in energy production and offsetting the current sources of energy. Five scenarios combined different partnerships of renewable energy and spatial heating in order to compare costs, energy production, and offsetings of current fossil fuel sources across technologies. Recommendations out of the scenario model put forth results for Wild Mountain to consider rather than ranking one scenario more ideal than the others. Other recommendations are made based on the research and results in general, from specific consideration for the technologies to energy conservation.
Bleicher, Kyra; Gray, Connor; and Houston, Korbin, "Assessing Renewable Technologies at Wild Mountain Cooperative" (2017). Community Engaged Research Reports. 40.