Museum of Science – Boston - Case Study


Courtesy of Boreal Renewable Energy Development

Each year, millions of visitors come to the Museum of Science – in Boston, only Fenway Park draws more people. This nationally-renowned center dates to the mid-1800s as a resource to teach and demonstrate how technology and science affects daily living. The museum enjoys a high-profile location along the Charles River, between Boston and Cambridge. Facilities include an IMAX theater and a 2 1/2 million volt Van de Graaff generator — the museum’s two-story tall high-voltage electrostatic display.

Client Need:

To evaluate the potential and capacity of rooftop wind power, the Museum of Science-Boston wanted to develop a “WindLab” and proposed installing five different types of turbines on its facility. Options ranged from a tall vertical axis turbine 30-feet-high – to a rack of five low-profile turbines side-by-side resembling airplane propellers. Finding the appropriate location for each size and type of installation required extensive study.

Solved: Feasibility Arrow Design Arrow Installation

After initial meteorological studies to learn wind patterns, Boreal presented a plan for locating specific units and obtained zoning approvals from both cities. Engineers solved potential structural, noise and obstruction concerns for each turbine. In 2009, all five turbine installations were completed – with 13kW of wind capacity in total.


Built on-time and on budget in a difficult rooftop setting, within a few months of approvals, WindLab is a popular addition to the local skyline and is producing significant educational benefits and valuable data for the museum.

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