Commonsense conservation and cutting-edge renewable energy projects will be showcased in four Montana towns over the next few months. The first tour, Thursday, July 14, in Townsend, will feature a variety of energy efficient retrofits and renewable energy systems undertaken by the Townsend School District.
Energy tours are open to the public and are hosted by AERO, Montana’s Alternative Energy Resources Organization. Upcoming tours will be in Philipsburg and Red Lodge in September and in Great Falls in October. Stay tuned for dates and times.
The Townsend tour begins at 1:30 p.m. at Townsend School, 201 N. Spruce St. The school has a biomass boiler to burn wood pellets as part of the Fuels for Schools program through the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. And last year they installed a 2.4 kilowatt wind turbine as a part of the Wind for Schools Program. The tour includes a grid-tied solar array and a number of cost and energy saving retrofits within the school, including upgrades in lighting and windows.
“The array of renewable energy projects at the Townsend school is very impressive,” said tour organizer Sarah Lesnar, energy program manager for AERO. “This tour will have something for everyone, from the casually interested homeowner, to public officials or school administrators. The Townsend school district really has taken advantage of incentive programs from different organizations around the state.”
The tour will include a brief seminar highlighting grants, loans and tax credits available to help finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Renewable energy dealers and installers will also be on hand to talk about specifics.
The tours are sponsored in part by a grant from NorthWestern Energy through the Universal System Benefits program. Other sponsors include the Montana Renewable Energy Association and Montana Department of Environmental Quality.
The cost of the Townsend tour is $5 and includes a light snack. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Please call the AERO office at 443-7272 to register and for information on other tours.