Environment

Is this the largest rooftop wind installation in the world?

Is this the largest rooftop wi...
A newly opened wind farm on the roof of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is claimed by turbine suppliers Venger to be the largest building-integrated wind farm in the US
A newly opened wind farm on the roof of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is claimed by turbine suppliers Venger to be the largest building-integrated wind farm in the US
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A Venger V2 up close
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A Venger V2 up close
A newly opened wind farm on the roof of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is claimed by turbine suppliers Venger to be the largest building-integrated wind farm in the US
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A newly opened wind farm on the roof of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is claimed by turbine suppliers Venger to be the largest building-integrated wind farm in the US
Each V2 has a capacity of 4.5 kW, giving the installation a theoretical capacity of 81 kW overall
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Each V2 has a capacity of 4.5 kW, giving the installation a theoretical capacity of 81 kW overall
The OMRF wind farm by night
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The OMRF wind farm by night
The OMRF wind farm by night
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The OMRF wind farm by night
Part of a Venger V2 turbine
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Part of a Venger V2 turbine
A newly opened wind farm on the roof of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is claimed by turbine suppliers Venger to be the largest building-integrated wind farm in the US
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A newly opened wind farm on the roof of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is claimed by turbine suppliers Venger to be the largest building-integrated wind farm in the US
A Venger V2 in transit
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A Venger V2 in transit
Each V2 has a capacity of 4.5 kW, giving the installation a theoretical capacity of 81 kW overall
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Each V2 has a capacity of 4.5 kW, giving the installation a theoretical capacity of 81 kW overall
The wind farm is built on the roof of the 130 ft-tall Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
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The wind farm is built on the roof of the 130 ft-tall Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Each V2 has a capacity of 4.5 kW, giving the installation a theoretical capacity of 81 kW overall
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Each V2 has a capacity of 4.5 kW, giving the installation a theoretical capacity of 81 kW overall
Each V2 has a capacity of 4.5 kW, giving the installation a theoretical capacity of 81 kW overall
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Each V2 has a capacity of 4.5 kW, giving the installation a theoretical capacity of 81 kW overall
A newly opened wind farm on the roof of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is claimed by turbine suppliers Venger to be the largest building-integrated wind farm in the US
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A newly opened wind farm on the roof of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is claimed by turbine suppliers Venger to be the largest building-integrated wind farm in the US
A V2 turbine from below
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A V2 turbine from below
Each V2 has a capacity of 4.5 kW, giving the installation a theoretical capacity of 81 kW overall
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Each V2 has a capacity of 4.5 kW, giving the installation a theoretical capacity of 81 kW overall
View gallery - 15 images

A newly opened wind farm on the roof of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is claimed by turbine suppliers Venger to be the largest building-integrated wind farm in the US. But might it be the largest in the world?

On June 22, 2012, wind turbine manufacturer put out a nondescript press release with the headline "Venger Wind Farm Installed on Roof of Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF)." Welcome, but at first glance, not particularly ground-breaking news. Rooftop wind installations of significant capacity are relatively rare, but not so rare that a new one is likely to grab many headlines beyond local news coverage.

But a second look reveals, four sentences into a lengthy opening first paragraph, the following nugget of information: "the project is the largest building integrated wind energy system in the US." Yes, this appeared in the first paragraph, but with the sheer volume of press releases put out on a daily basis, this may as well have been written in Hittite. Talk about burying the lede. Credit must go to Inhabitat's Timon Singh for spotting this significant detail (assuming that's where he saw the story).

But enough about the subtleties of press release writing. Just how large is "large?" One hopes and assumes that by size, Venger is referring to installed capacity: the power the farm is capable of producing at peak output. The roof of the OMRF is now graced with 18 of Venger's 18.5-ft (5.6-m) V2 vertical-axis wind turbines. Each has a capacity of 4.5 kW, giving the installation a theoretical capacity of 81 kW overall. As rooftop installations go, that's certainly nothing to be sniffed at. As a basis for comparison, the three turbines integrated into London's Strata residential block have a combined capacity of 57 kW.

The wind farm is built on the roof of the 130 ft-tall Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
The wind farm is built on the roof of the 130 ft-tall Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

The cut-in speed of the turbines is 8.9 mph (or 4 m/s). That's the wind speed required for the turbines to even begin generating power, and is quite high compared to other wind turbines designed for urban conditions. The McCamley turbine we looked at recently begins to be productive in winds as weak as 4 mph (1.8 m/s). In Venger's favor is that they are sited on the 130-foot (40-m) tall OMRF, where wind speeds are certain to be higher.

An OMRF press release says that the turbines are projected to produce 85,500 kWh of energy per year, equivalent to seven average-sized American homes (and the amount of energy generated were the turbines to run under ideal conditions for 1000 hours.) Refreshingly, the release also points out this will not be enough energy to meet the OMRF's needs, but doesn't let us know what proportion of its demand that would cover. Strata's turbines (to use them as a yardstick again) were only expected to meet 8 percent of the building's energy needs, and you can bet that the OMRF houses more power-hungry gear than a mere tower block.

Interestingly, Venger isn't merely claiming this as the largest rooftop installation in the US, but the largest building-integrated installation. As most building-integrated installations will be on the roof, this isn't a huge distinction, but it's a slightly larger subset of wind turbines all the same. Turbines can also be mounted on building facades.

Inhabitat in its coverage calls this the largest rooftop installation in the world. We're happy to go along with that, unless anyone out there can point us to anything bigger still.

Sources: Venger and OMRF, via Inhabitat

View gallery - 15 images
22 comments
socalboomer
I think those could also be called art - they're cool looking and, I think, add some visual appeal to the building.
iWonder
Notice the lights that shine on the turbines at night from below. Looks pretty but will consume power.
Pikeman
Years ago a company was going to build a highrise in a urban area NY city if I remember correctly and for mostly for style they were going to have the building sitting on pillars leaving pedestrian traffic unimpeded across the property but wind tunnel tests showed that on breezy days the wind going under the building would be at hurricane force. The building went up without the plaza. The point being that if instead of making the wind farm an afterthought you design the building around it you could achieve a much greater energy output without affecting the practicality of the building.
JøhP
Bahrain World Trade Center has some MW turbines integrated.
Amrut Nerlikar
Innovation. eXcellence. Simply Delivered!
Eric Malatji
wow, no talk about off grid
Pikeman
re; Eric Malatji To go off grid you have to produce power equal to use The press release states that this is not so.
nutcase
Looks like a bizarre mutant barber shop. More show than go, I would suggest.
pmshah
How about the Pearl River Tower in China ? It is almost self sufficient in its energy needs.
jerryd
Sadly another scam as these vertical wind turbines as all other VAWT's can't because of basic physics every be cost effective because they put out little power/$ or lb. So far only 2-5 blade normal HAWT's have a shot at cost effectiveness and even then they have to be really good. If RE is going to be big, and it will because when done right is already the cheapest electric source for homes, buildings making their own, we are going to have to weed these scammers like this company out and even put them in jail for fraud as it's just stealing by a different name.