Wind turbines designed to be installed on rooftops are generating a lot interest lately. These compact turbines can be located on top of buildings, or attached to other parts of large structures like bridges. In turns out, though, that installing wind turbine in a city environment is a bit of an art. That’s because each building has it’s own unique wind footprint, and nearby buildings also tend to generate strange wind patterns. So placing the wind turbines in the right place is key. The other challenge is to make these turbine noise-free and visually unobtrusive.
For many years, a fellow named Bil Becker has been hard at work developing his Aerotecture turbines. The turbines are elegant devices which incorporate both Savonius and Darrieus styles into one turbine (pictured here). His company has been installing these turbines in a few test locations around Chicago like the Near North Apartments at the Mercy Lakefront Housing.
This installation features eight Aeroturbines mounted horizontally to the roof of this 96-unit housing development. The building, designed by Murphy/Jahn Architects, is a fine example of building-integrated wind energy technology. The geometry and orientation of the building was designed specifically to increase the speed of the wind as it flows over the roof.
Here’s a video clip about the turbines:
So how power do these turbines produce? The Aerotecture FAQ says: “The estimated rated output of the 510V is 1kW in 30 mph winds; the estimated rating for the 520H is 1.8kW.” As for the price:
The 510V Aeroturbine has an estimated cost of $15,000; the 520H Aeroturbine has an estimated cost of $21,000. This price includes the full system: rotors, cages, all the custom mounting structures, and electronic equipment (batteries are optional and sold separately). The cost of Aeroturbines will dramatically decrease with the advent of mass production.
See also this article by Chicago Conscious Choice on Bil Becker and Aerotecture.