By: Mallory Johnson,
Americorps VISTA

Thanks to the support from the Department of Energy Development, on January 17th Bluegrass Greensource took teachers and our Environmental Educators on a tour of RossTarrant Architects and E.W. Brown Generating Station.

Our day began with a tour and educational visit at RossTarrant Architects, an educational architecture firm located in Lexington, KY. Ross Tarrant is a leader nationally in sustainable design, and is the only 100% educational architecture firm in Kentucky. They are also a pilot member of the City of Lexington’s GreenCheck program, a program managed by Bluegrass Greensource. Their offices are a testament to their commitment to sustainable design and education. The building incorporates natural daylighting, good acoustics and the best possible indoor air quality to maximize student performance. Our teachers and staff were given an extensive and engaging tour, and learned a lot about ways to incorporate what RossTarrant was doing into their own schools.

After our time at Ross Tarrant, we headed to E.W. Brown Generating Station, located on the banks of Lake Herrington in Mercer County near Harrodsburg, KY. The E.W. Brown Plant is unique in that it showcases four generations of electricity-producing processes — a hydroelectric plant, three fossil-fueled generating units, seven combustion turbines and a universal solar facility.

The newest addition to the E.W. Brown Plant is the new 10-megawatt universal solar facility that stretches across 50 acres of the plant’s property. It uses more than 44,000 solar panels on fixed tilt rack systems that are positioned to optimize the available sunlight for producing energy. Commercial operation began in spring of 2016. The facility is projected to produce 19,000 megawatt-hours of energy annually, enough to provide energy for 1,500 homes based on a usage of 1,000 kilowatt hours per month.

While touring E.W. Brown, we were also able to visit the Dix Dam Generating Station. Originally Dix Dam was a principal source of power but now the hydro plant is used mainly when heavy rainfall results in above normal lake elevation. Today, with all three units running, the plant produces 24 megawatts of power.

We are excited to see how our teachers will bring their experience and knowledge back into the classroom, to educate students about Kentucky’s energy present and future. We’re so thankful for the support from the Department of Energy Development and Independence to make these field trip and professional development opportunities possible!

Kentucky Energy for Youth Teams are funded by the Department for Energy Development and Independence. Classroom education for this program is funded by Toyota.