Modular microturbines – aka, urban turbines - are getting a lift in urban settings where buildings want to take advantage of wind power, minus the f-ugly factor. Going the opposite route of the bigger-is-better mentality, Aerovironment is designing small, silent turbines that easily attach to buildings. The look of the turbines take into account the building’s structure and style, so that the turbines look a little more like they belong there.
Like gargoyles that generate electricity, modular microturbines sit atop buildings, taking advantage of the aerodynamics of wind traveling up a building’s sides. Their design captures efficiency, as they can provide as much as a 30% increase on energy production. Helping obtain this level of efficiency is also the fact that they can rotate at low wind speeds – other smaller low-speed turbines are also in the works, though Aerovironment’s designs have much more style than some we’ve seen. The microturbines are about 200 lbs, 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall, and have a bird screen to protect the pigeons (among other birds) that are the bane of building maintenance managers.
These urban turbines are geared toward larger buildings, rather than residential homes. The sleek look of the microturbines can add some flare to a building’s façade, as well as pad the bank account with both the savings on energy costs, and, hopefully, increased customer bases thanks to folks wandering in to ask what those things are sitting on the roof. If you listen carefully, you can hear these things holler “
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