Solar panels fit well with rehab of historic Western hotel

June 24, 2011 |
Drew Ballensky

The capstone of a rehab project on a historic Lander, Wyoming, building that was originally a swanky hotel was the installation of a photovoltaic array. The technology has integrated seamlessly with the circa 1918 Noble Hotel, which was constructed as part of a plan to make Lander a gateway to Yellowstone National Park. With marble floors, mahogany woodwork, and hot and cold water and electricity in every room, in its day the hotel rivaled fancy big city hotels. (link)

Today, the structure, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the home of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Earlier this year, the environmentally conscious organization added 108 solar panels to its roof. Completely hidden from view at street level, the panels supply about 30% of the building’s power. (link)

“This clean energy production allows NOLS to take a big leap forward toward our strategic goal of a 30% carbon footprint reduction before 2020,” according to the school’s web site. “This 24.8-kilowatt array, along with the 14.3-kilowatt array on NOLS’s Rocky Mountain building, will help NOLS serve as a model of self-reliance and sustainability.”

Solar panels were partially funded by a grant from the Rocky Mountain Power Blue Sky Energy initiative. When it went online in April, the Noble building’s array was the fourth-largest in Wyoming.

Drew Ballensky | Reconstruction Blog

Drew Ballensky is general manager of Duro-Last Roofing, Inc.’s central U.S. facility in Iowa and company spokesman for Duro-Last’s cool roofing, sustainability and architectural education programs. He is past-president of the Chemical Fabrics and Film Association and chairman of CFFA’s Vinyl Roofing Division. Drew earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from the University of Northern Iowa and master’s degree in business administration from Florida State University.
Drew has over 29 years experience in business and industry in various engineering and managerial capacities. He has worked in the U.S. and Canadian operations for a major international manufacturer of pre-engineered steel buildings, was a financial analyst with a major athletic apparel manufacturer and was an owner of a general contracting company.

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