Starting a business in the midst of a recession is always risky.  Starting a farm-based business, risky even in the strongest economic circumstances, may be a sign of mental instability, but we are dedicated to making a go of it.

When we first purchased Beekman Farm, our ultimate goal (which will take us many decades to reach) was to make the farm biodynamic, meaning that everything we use on the farm is somehow derived from the farm.  The idea of being self-sustaining is a lofty goal but one worth the effort no matter how many years it takes us to get there.

Since buying the farm, we’ve been working with the team at Titan Powersystems, to design and implement new technologies that will make the farm one of the “greenest” small farms in America (they can offer you tips for your own home, too).

A lot of thought and planning used to go into how houses were situated on a piece of land.  It was important for ventilation, heating and cooling.  The Beekman was built on a specific knoll because of the sun and the wind pattern blowing through the Mohawk Valley.    It was the later that led Rick Anderson from Titan to recommend the installation of a wind turbine on the farm.

Knowing that we were concerned about maintaining the natural beauty of the farm and the living environment for the animals, he recommended Windspire.

The Windspire® wind turbine is a small-scale vertical axis wind turbine designed for use in urban, suburban and rural environments. It is distinguished by its sleek propeller-free design, quiet operation, ease of installation and affordable pricing. These characteristics position it as an ideal solution for homeowners, businesses, non-profits and governments looking to decrease their electricity costs and their carbon footprints.

The standard Windspire is 30-feet tall and 4-feet wide, designed to come in under the typical 35-foot height restrictions of local municipalities (many small towns, including Sharon Springs, are just now creating laws and regulations for the use of windpower). Due to the vertical axis design, sound levels were tested at 6 decibels above ambient, rendering it virtually inaudible and the  1.2kW Windspire installed at the farm will produce approximately 2000 kilowatt hours per year in 11 mph average wind which will cover a lot of the electricity needed to run the milking operation during peak season.

The U.S. government provides a 30 percent tax credit for the total cost of the unit, including installation. Many state and local municipalities also offer rebates, as do local power companies.

Oddly, the wind turbine is so quiet and blends so well that we often have to point it out to people in order for them to notice it.  Once they do, they are generally mesmerized.  It actually has a tranquility to it.   We think of it is a wonderful piece of kinetic art in the farmyard.  Like all things Beekman, it is beautiful and practical.

by Josh and Brent

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Mark

It has been several years since this post. How has the Windspire performed? Is it something that is providing a real environmental and financial payback, or simply a “wonderful piece of kinetic art” (not that there is anything wrong with that)?

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Jim Terryberry

After seeing the Windspire on the show and visiting the farm during the last Harvest Fest we've decided to investigate installing the Windspire and Thermal Solar at our house in the Berkshires. We talked with Tom and Logan from Titan Power Systems at length. The quotes for both systems aren't outrageous and the tax credits help bring them down to affordable levels.

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Rick Harper

I have a dream and that is to establish a photovoltaic Solar and Wind Park (farm). The only difference is each panel and Windspire turbine would be owned by individual citizens, who for-what-ever reason were prohibited from installing on their own properties These ordinary people would invest in the renewable energy devices and in turn receive the applicable production rebate on their electric utility invoicing. To cover the park's maintenance costs, a small percentage (3%) would be charged on the production of each installed device. Being an established Park, everyone would be encouraged to visit and walk the grounds viewing nature quietly working to preserve our clean environment. Rick

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Larkin

Here we've been using our turbine for a year along with solar hot water heating and humanure composting. Keep up the good work.

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Doreen and John West

We are glad to see you are installing the The Windspire® wind turbine. Solar, wind and geothermal just makes so much sense. Two years ago we installed solar panels that powers lights (and a fan when it's hot) for our alpacas and goats.

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Micky Perez

I immediately emailed that company! We live on a windy hill and have been looking for a while and in Germany, where my family leaves wind turbines are all over the place. I am so thrilled!!! I am picking up a goat this Saturday so I will have to check yours out. Thanks for sharing!!!

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traci sabia

i went on titans website to get info. you are there home page. congrats. it shows josh in his boots and apron. so cute. my husband and i are also very interested in getting "off the grid". there are quite a few homes and businesses and colleges that have started solar panels and wind turbines around here. its a great things and even thought the initial cost is high, ur utility bills go down to practically nothing. luv u guys…

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Sabino

Brent and Josh,

I am excited to see this type of sustainable renewable energy projects installed, specially this one at Beekman Farm.

Besides the little bit we are going to see on tomorrow's episode regarding the Windspire going up, could it be possible for you guys to post a video here with the whole project (summarized), from conception to installation to daily operation?

I would really like to see that, as I am an engineer always interested in new down-to-earth renewable energy technologies available for use in our homes/farms or commercial buildings at a smaller scale compared to those huge wind-farm projects all around the world?

It will be cool to have the Beekman 1802 Windspire Project posted in a video here in your website!

Thanks again for sharing this awesome project with me (us)!

SABINO

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Ed and Heidi McNamar

Sorry, What I meant to ask was, will you have an episode about the installation process of your wind turbine and how it will affect your self-reliant lifestyle… ;D

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Ed and Heidi McNamar

Love it and signed up for future emailings from their website! Will there be an episode to include the idea of self-sufficiency and living a greener lifestyle?

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teri tighe

When I started watching Living with Ed, on Planet Green, I started thinking more about going green around the house. I would love to get some solar panels and even get off the grid but the cost stops me, even though I know I would get a good tax credit. I will have to save my money for the home improvements and green improvements I would like to make.

I would especially love to get something that would allow me to stop buying and using oil. Hopefully there is something that would help the Beekman stop using the oil and become more warm during the winter months.

I also love the wind turbines. I see them all over the place and think they are beautiful. This structure is really interesting, as well. I can't wait to see it, it's like a piece of art.

Keep us posted on how it is working out for you and any other green items you get.

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Pete

Congrats on the Turbine. I never understood the oppositions against these. I myself is a nature lover/freak. But seeing these being used to harvest the power of mother nature for the protection of mother nature seems so misunderstood. And yet benificial to human life, is beautiful. I look at the turbines/ windmills in motion and all i see is mother nature at work in a form unlike any other.

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sue t.

Brent, Kettering University here in Flint has been working for decades with great success. We are hoping to install panels this summer to help bring down our heating bills. It will be with great pride to spread the word about the advancements going on at the Beekman. sue t.

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Andrea

What a nifty thing this is! Can't wait to hear your follow-up thoughts about actual results once milking season really gets going. Second the motion on geothermal, Mother Nature has provided us with virtually free heating and cooling! I have friends who have installed geothermal and are amazed at the efficiency and savings.

All the best!

Andrea

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Sabino

Josh and Brent,

This is awesome! Congrats!

Certainly including sustainable energy projects at the Beekman Farm will make you the most advanced green goat farm in the US and will bring cost down while operating the Farm.

I hope the next sustainable energy project at the Farm is a geothermal project to provide heat and air-conditioning to the Mansion and to the Barn too. This way everybody will be very happy, Josh will be warm at the Mansion during the winter turning on the heating system 24/7, Brent will be happy bringing down the cost of heating to the Mansion (if not eliminating it at all), and the animals at the barn will surrounded by a warmer environment too and maybe the chickens will lay more eggs!

By undertaking projects like this W-inspired green-power generation at the Farm will get you to your ultimate goal is less time than what you envision. I hope that period of time will be very short. By implementing this project, you are even closer to becoming a totally self-sustainable green-farm in the land…..

CONGRATS Brent and Josh!

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Delia

Cool! I love seeing all the windmills in the desert outside Palm Springs, when we drive to AZ. Our gov. Jerry Brown is a big proponent of this.

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