As caretakers of 70 acres of land, Prairiewoods’ staff is committed to offering facilities that use alternative energy sources, a sustainable treatment of the land, conservation of natural resources and other earth-friendly practices. The following is a list of some of the “green” features found around Prairiewoods:
- Eco-friendly architectural design melds buildings into existing natural landscape.
- Conservation of large trees around buildings provides shade and enhances aesthetic beauty.
- Berming around structures assists with insulation and noise pollution abatement.
- Large windows, compact fluorescent lights and LED lights create efficient lighting.
- Low-flow toilets conserve water.
- Energy-efficient appliances reduce energy consumption.
- A holistic land management approach includes prairie and woodland restoration efforts.
- Retention ponds allow for responsible drainage of storm water and provide aquatic habitat.
- Green-cleaning practices and avoidance of pesticides reduce our chemical impact on humans and the environment.
- 100 solar modules (17,500-watt system capable of generating 22,500 kilowatt hours of electricity in one year) are tied into the electrical grid and provide about 45% of our electricity.
- Solar tubes in the restrooms bring natural light and reduce electricity usage.
- Solar hot water system provides hot water for showers, laundry and other uses.
- Straw bale construction enhances insulation and models bio-friendly, recyclable housing options.
- Solar panels provide all electrical power, allowing these buildings to be independent of the electrical grid.
- Radiant floor heating provides heat for the buildings.
- Wetland septic system recycles all waste and grey water.
- Permaculture garden provides our guests with locally-grown vegetables, fruits and herbs.
- Root cellar provides natural cold storage.
- Composting fruit and vegetable scraps reduces our landfill waste and returns nutrients to the earth.
I-Renew Training Facility
- Solar power allows this building to be independent of the electrical grid.
- Classroom setting provides hands-on educational opportunities for installing roof-top solar photovoltaic panels and solar hot water systems.
- Trombe wall provides passive solar heating for two apartments
Prairiewoods and Iowa Renewable Energy Collaborate
I-Renew and Prairiewoods joined forces to create the Iowa Renewable Energy (I-Renew) Installation Training Center on Prairiewoods’ grounds. I-Renew received a $50,000 grant from the Iowa Power Fund Community Grants Program through the Office of Energy Independence to fund the construction of a building featuring a solar array roof and solar thermal water heater.
The facility is located on Prairiewoods’ grounds near our organic garden. Groundbreaking was held on July 21, 2010, at Prairiewoods. Iowa Governor Chet Culver, local politicians and members of the Prairiewoods and I-Renew boards were on hand to break ground on this green endeavor.
The I-Renew Training Facility allows advanced training within a controlled setting for the hands-on education of renewable energy installers who want to obtain professional certification in their selected field.