The new Verde Ranger Station (figure 1) in Camp Verde, AZ, was designed with sustainability in mind.
The ranger station's solar array can generate 18 kilowatts of power, more than enough to meet the station's electrical demand on a bright winter's day. Surplus electricity is returned to the power grid for a credit on the station's utility bill. The solar array (figure 2) includes 80 photovoltaic panels mounted on 10 tracking towers. These towers allow the solar panels to follow the sun. Heat moves refrigerant fluid (figure 3) from a chamber on one side of the tracking tower to a chamber on the other, tilting the tower so it faces the sun.
Figure 3—Heat moves refrigerant fluid from a chamber on one side of the tracking tower to a chamber on the other, tilting the solar panels so they face the sun.
An LED screen in the ranger station's lobby shows the amount of energy used, the amount of energy generated by the solar panels, the money saved, and the pounds of CO2 saved. Smart power meters provide the data displayed by the LED screen (figure 4).
The finished exterior walls are sturdy, don't transmit noise, and provide as much insulation (R38) as fiberglass batts that are 12 inches thick.
Figure 4—This LED screen inside the Verde Ranger
Station shows visitors how much energy the solar
array is generating and the pounds of CO2 the
energy savings represents.
The new building also incorporates energy-efficient lighting, low water-use toilets and faucets, and a high-efficiency condensing gas heating system. Condensing furnaces capture heat that would otherwise be lost by condensing water vapor from exhaust gases.
Figure 5—ThermoBlock building blocks have an R (insulating) value of 38. They are reinforced with rebar and grout.
Prime parking spaces at the ranger station are reserved for fuel-efficient cars (figure 6) and carpool vehicles.
The ranger station, which has been in use since the fall of 2009, is on track to gain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification at the silver (third highest) level.
For more information on the Verde Ranger Station, contact Doug Schmidgall, forest facilities engineer, Prescott National Forest: 928–443–8177, firstname.lastname@example.org.