Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center Sustainable Renovation Design Team
Bureau of Land Management, Price, Utah
The Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center Team is recognized for demonstrated leadership, skill, and ingenuity for the sustainable design features used in the renovation of the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center in 2005–2006. The original 950-square foot building was increased by 1,500 square feet. Additional exhibit space, a small office, and mechanical room were added to the original building. Off the grid, the center requires electricity 24 hours a day to power the building’s systems. They were able to meet the full energy need for the building by installing a photovoltaic system. In fuel cost for a generator alone, the photovoltaic system has a full payback period of 2¼ years. Energy efficient features ensure the photovoltaic system can create enough power for the building. The annual emission savings are estimated at 6,265 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Signage describes the principles of solar energy and the unique components of the photovoltaic system to site visitors. BLM site interpretation staff show interested visitors how the equipment generates and uses solar energy. The design team worked closely with each other, various stakeholders, and the construction contractor to ensure that the building was constructed using a holistic, sustainable approach, including the features listed below.
The Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center Renovation Design Team was comprised of the following individuals:
The Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center Renovation Design Team is nominated for demonstrated leadership, expertise, skill, and ingenuity in implementing sustainable design features and renewable energy technologies during the renovation of the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center. The team’s expertise allowed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to accomplish its renewable energy and environmental goals with significant initial savings and very short payback.
Although this is a relatively small-scaled project, it is important to realize that this project represents over 16% of the BLM’s annual construction budget.
The Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center is the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) first visitor center. Originally constructed in 1967, the building underwent a major renovation in 2005-2006. The original 950 square-foot building was increased by 1500 square-feet. Additional exhibit space, a small office, and mechanical room were added to the original building. The team members were instrumental throughout the planning, design and construction phases of the renovation. The team provided complete structural, mechanical, electrical, landscaping and photovoltaic design.
The Cleveland-Lloyd Visitor Center is located 15 miles from the nearest town and utility source. Power for the visitor center is provided by a photovoltaic system. Initially the building general contractor was required to provide and install the 3.7 kilowatt photovoltaic system. Upon review of the cost proposal, team members determined that significant saving could be achieved if the BLM were to purchase and install the equipment using local contractors and agency labor.
Electricity is required 24 hours a day to power the building security system and other loads. Powering these loads with an engine generator would consume over $24,000 a year in fuel. In fuel cost alone, the photovoltaic system has a simple payback of 2.25 years.
Compact fluorescent lights, with occupancy sensors set to turn-off within 7 minutes of the space being vacated, provide additional energy savings. A thermostatically-controlled, high-efficiency evaporative cooler provides cooling for the exhibit space.
The 3.7 kilowatt photovoltaic array produces 6.7 million-watt-hours per year (MWhr/year). The annual energy savings for this project are 1099 million British Thermal Units (MBtu).
The total savings for the renewable energy features exceeded $60,000, representing an 8.57% overall project savings.
Sustainable/ Whole Building Approach
The design team worked closely with each other, various stakeholders, and the construction contractor to ensure that the building was constructed using a holistic, sustainable approach.
The original 40 year old building design utilized large overhangs to protect southern oriented glazing from direct light, while large northern oriented glazing allowed daylight to illuminate the space and provide views of the actual quarry. These architectural elements were utilized again in the remodeled structure. Similar overhangs and glazing orientation and a new clerestory window continue to provide ample day-lighting in the exhibit space. The Visitor Center is actually fully functional without power or lights. The quarry buildings utilize windows and skylights for illumination and are not equipped with lighting.
Lighting in the Visitor Center is provided by compact fluorescent lights. The lights are zoned and controlled by occupancy sensors. Once visitors vacate the various exhibit spaces, the lights automatically turn off after about 5 minutes. This lighting control method greatly reduces the amount of energy used by the building.
Building cooling is provided by an evaporative cooler that is controlled by a thermostat. The thermostat also has a timer function that allows the building users to program a time for the cooler to turn off. These features allow for user comfort while limiting the run time and amount of energy used by the cooler.
The photovoltaic system was sized based on the energy efficiency measures implemented with the lighting and cooling design. Photovoltaic module supports were integrated into the roof system, and conduit was installed during the building construction. These measures reduced the effort required to install the photovoltaic equipment. The system consists of a 3.7 kilowatt (kW) array, a 12 kW -hour valve regulated lead acid battery, and a 4 kW sine wave inverter. Valve regulated lead acid batteries or "gel" batteries were selected due to their low maintenance requirements. The inverter, charge controllers, and batteries are installed in a small mechanical room. Site users are able to monitor the performance and status of the system through a kilowatt-hour meter and a battery amp-hour meter.
Environmental/ Non-Energy Benefits
The annual emission savings from the photovoltaic system are estimated at 6,265 pounds of carbon dioxide, 11 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 12 pounds of nitrogen oxides.
Visitors appreciate the quiet solitude provided by the site. They are able to experience the wonders of this tranquil natural setting without generators, vehicles, or other distracting noise. The goal of the project was to maintain the quiet solitude of the visitor’s experience.
The original generator was removed and the photovoltaic system provides power to the site with minimal anthropogenic noise.
In addition to the environmental benefits, the photovoltaic system is simple to operate by the site hosts. During the summer months, college interns studying paleontology are recruited to host the site. The agency funding does not allow for a full time maintenance person to care for the facility. The system design requires only regular data logging of the system performance. This allows the hosts to care for the photovoltaic system with a minimum of training.
Institutionalization and transferability
Photovoltaic equipment was selected and sized based on over 10 years of experience. The system was chosen that best fit BLM’s needs for renewable production of electricity in sensitive areas where noise is an issue. The style and design can readily be adapted and sized to facilities with similar characteristics (i.e., remoteness, scenic, and natural settings) to allow for renewable energy production. Additionally, energy management features utilized in lighting and mechanical systems can be sized and deployed at any Federal facility.
Signage was designed and placed at the site to describe the principles of solar energy and the unique components of the photovoltaic system to site visitors. BLM site hosts are open to showing interested visitors the characteristics and equipment used to generate and use solar energy.
This small Visitor’s Center demonstrates the viability of renewable energy in one of Utah’s largest coal and power producing counties.
Innovative New Technology/Tech transfer
Although the principles and technologies used at the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center are not new, the holistic integration of sustainable design that meets the energy demands of the facility while preserving the scenic natural beauty of the environment represents an innovative new approach.
The team’s experience and leadership in developing and implementing sustainable building design features are recognized throughout the BLM and the team members serve as mentors for others in the development and application of sustainable building design features.
Summary of Results and Benefits from the team’s actions:
U.S. Department of the Interior
Greening of the Interior