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.