Windmill Brings Renewable Energy to Legacy Garden

The windmill is powered by wind coming over the hill above the Legacy Garden.

The Green Living/Learning Community has created a number of projects to make Saint Mary's a more sustainable campus, and now it has spawned a working windmill. Not the kind you tilt at, à la Don Quixote, but the kind that creates energy and light.

"The idea for this windmill started as an open project for the Green Community," said SMC student Charles Ahrens Feldman of the 2012-13 Green Living/Learning Community. "The idea our group came up with was to construct a windmill generator that could harness the excess wind coming over the hill from the Legacy Garden in order to deliver power to the garden."

The windmill spins in the wind, charging a 12-volt car battery in a waterproof case, which is connected by an extension cord to a power outlet in the legacy garden. The battery is designed to power lights for about 18 hours, even with no wind, and to automatically shut off when the power drops too low so the battery doesn't become drained.

Ahrens Feldman was so committed to the project that he chipped in $400 of his own money to get it off the ground. His investment was later repaid by the College through a Syufy Grant.

In addition to Ahrens Feldman, other students who worked on the project were Sally Robertson, Lukas Yanni, Jon Zeitler, Blake Tormey, Martin Hall and Elliott Battle.

Ahrens Feldman is proud of the Green Community's achievement and says, "We think that this windmill is a great step forward for both the Green Community and the Campus as a whole, since it is a visible effort toward sustainable energy for the campus."