Milford High School soon will be able to use a 50-foot tall wind turbine to help offset some of its electrical costs. More importantly, district officials said the turbine also will offer some educational rewards.
The vertical turbine was donated by ENERGYCHEK President Dave Hollens, who has two children attending school in the Huron Valley School District and had a daughter graduate from Milford High School last summer. The turbine is onsite at Milford High School, but the district must receive approval from the state before it is connected, Hollens said.
The turbine will have Wi-Fi capabilities, which would allow individuals to go online and see how it is working once it goes live, Hollens said.
ENERGYCHEK is a Milford-based full-service energy reduction consultant for commercial clients and renewable energy and design consultant for both residential and commercial clients.
Hollens’ connection not just to the Huron Valley School District, but education in general, is extensive. His mother was a longtime teacher in the Lake Orion School District.
“I guess you can say I have a little bit of teaching in my blood,” Hollens said. “We think that Milford High School can see if the energy production generated from the wind turbine can make a classroom sustainable, so there are some great learning opportunities here.”
The real value of this onsite turbine will be for educational purposes, said Milford High School Principal Mike Krystiniak.
“One turbine isn’t really enough to make a big impact on our utility bills, but it will feed back into our grid,” Krystiniak said. “We really see some significant educational benefits from this though.”
One Milford High School class that may see a significant benefit is the advanced placement environmental science course, one that covers topics relating to alternative energy sources, Krystiniak said. Other advanced placement courses, such as mechanical and electrical physics and the general physics classes, also will benefit from the existence of the turbine.
“We will have more than 300 students be able to study the effects of this turbine on our school and their classroom, and having it onsite and available (to view online) will only make it easier for them to envision the benefits,” Krystiniak said.
“They can understand how it works and crunch numbers to measure the impact of electricity and energy. There will be level of hands-on experience because they can monitor the turbine.”
The Milford High principal credited Hollens with “extraordinary patience” as the district has gone through getting county, township and school board approval to use the turbine onsite. He said Hollens also donated a significant number of resource books covering such topics as environmentally sustainable and green energy to the high school’s library.
“There are a lot of hoops we have had to go through to get approval for this turbine to be installed and we hope we are close,” Krystiniak said.
Hollens will be involved with the future assembly of the wind turbine once the state approves the installation, a step he largely considers to be a formality.
“The students won’t be involved in the installation, but once we get it in there it’s going to be their baby,” Hollens said.