Yale Dedicates First On-Campus Micro Wind Turbines

Matthew R. Barger ’79 addresses guests at the dedication of the Prospect Street Windmill Project. At right is Bruce D. Alexander ’65, vice-president for New Haven and state affairs and campus development.

On May 29, 2009, Yale University celebrated the inauguration of the Prospect Street Windmill Project. Bringing together Matthew R. Barger ’79, his wife Janice L. Barger, and an enthusiastic gathering of alumni, faculty, and friends, the event recognized Barger for his gift to support the construction and installation of ten “micro” wind turbines on the roof of the Becton Engineering and Applied Science Center. The event was held in the Presidents’ Room in Memorial Hall.

Inge Reichenbach, vice president for development, opened the event by welcoming guests, including alumni in town to celebrate their Yale College reunions. She then introduced speakers Bruce D. Alexander ’65, vice-president for New Haven and state affairs and campus development, Keri Enright-Kato, sustainability project manager, and Melina Shannon-DiPietro, director of the Yale Sustainable Food Project. They each described Yale’s ongoing efforts to boost conservation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2005, the University announced a goal to decrease campus-wide greenhouse gas emissions to 43 percent below 2005 levels and has since achieved a reduction of 7 percent. Identifying the new windmills as a part of that effort, Enright-Kato referred to them as “a visible symbol of Yale’s commitment to a sustainable future.” Other initiatives include building and refitting facilities for efficiency, serving food from the Yale Sustainable Food Project in campus dining halls, and switching to greener power.

Following the ceremonial ribbon cutting, Barger stepped to the podium and addressed the crowd. “Yale is incredibly well situated to take academic research and ideas and lead by example,” he said. “Society, as we know, pays enormous attention to Yale as a world thought leader.” He closed by sharing that he and his wife were proud to do their small part to support Yale’s sustainability efforts.

The Windmill Project is a pioneering effort to bring clean, renewable energy to Yale’s campus. Demonstrating an approach to wind harvesting that is ideal for urban areas, the micro turbines, built by AeroVironment, Inc., each produce up to one kilowatt of clean energy. Their compact design also generates little noise and requires a breeze of just seven miles-per-hour to produce electricity. The turbines will generate 26 megawatt hours of electricity annually and reduce Yale’s carbon emissions by 521,000 pounds.

Matthew Barger is a graduate of the Yale class of 1979 and a generous supporter of the University. During his career he served in a number of roles including managing partner and chair of the investment committee at Hellman & Friedman LLC, a private equity investment firm in San Francisco, California. Now retired, Barger is a senior advisor for the firm and a director of a number of private and charitable boards.

(June 26, 2009)

June 26, 2009