North Carolina’s oldest fishing pier in the Outer Banks reopened on Saturday, May 21 after being severely damaged by Hurricane Isabel in 2003. The new Jennette’s Pier at Nags Head is loaded with state-of-the-art clean energy technology and innovative design with its 16,000 square foot, LEED certified, facility. According to the North Carolina Aquarium Society, which owns the pier, “the Aquarium-operated complex features educational classrooms and programs, alternative energy demonstrations, live animal exhibits, meeting facilities, a snack bar and tackle shop, and a host of other displays and features for good family fun….with great fishing too.”
Most prominent are the three wind turbines (10kW each) that spin gracefully above the Pier’s wooden deck. At maximum output, the turbines are capable of fulfilling nearly half the facility’s electric needs. In addition, one of the Pier’s shade pavilions is covered in photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity, which is stored in a battery bank until needed to power Pier lights at night.
Besides on-site energy production, the Pier is designed for energy efficiency and resource conservation. A closed-loop, geothermal, HVAC system conditions the pier house. Eighty wells 200 feet deep circulate fluid that returns to the building at a consistent temperature to aid heating in winter and cooling in summer.
Water conservation is of particular interest. Rainwater cisterns provide irrigation, deck wash-down and vehicle cleaning. An on-site waste water treatment facility returns reclaimed water to the Pier and bathhouse toilets. Together, these two features alone are projected to reduce municipal water use by 60 to 80 percent.
All of these features combined are an important and tangible demonstration of clean energy production and conservation at work. The Outer Banks – also home to aviation’s most historic site of Kitty Hawk and its Wright Brothers’ first flight – has an abundance of wind energy. Placement of the turbines along the length of the pier will allow for maximum efficiency of this alternative energy.
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