Situated on Tin Mountain Conservation Center’s 138-acre Rockwell Sanctuary on Bald Hill Road in Albany, NH, the Nature Learning Center (NLC) serves as a gathering place for the community and space for programs fostering natural science education and greater of community awareness and cooperation.
After 26 years of rented office space and programs out of the backs of cars, the Nature Learning Center finally provides TMCC with spaces to host school groups, nature programs, summer camps and community events.
Completed in August 2006 following eight years of planning, a year in design, a successful one-year capital campaign and a year of construction, the primarily solar-powered Nature Learning Center (8,500 sq. ft.) has a near zero energy footprint and boasts the use of local materials and craftsmanship.
Since moving into the NLC in 2006, increased participation in adult programs, summer camps, and school programs has nearly doubled membership. The new nature center has allowed Tin Mountain to build on this collective energy to become a central community gathering place and focal point for learning about land stewardship and natural history.
The NLC has numerous spaces that individuals, businesses, or non-profits can rent for meetings and events. For more information on facility rental, click HERE.
The NLC utilizes local materials where possible, including 20 species of wood all harvested in New England, most within 10 miles of the Center. Slate covering the lobby, kitchen, classroom and restroom floors was procured from Vermont.
The facility utilizes both solar-electric and solar-thermal technologies. Tin Mountain is enrolled in Net Metering through our power company, PSNH. This allows us to bank kilowatt-hours during the summer months when demand is low and supply (sunny weather, longer days) is high. Then during the winter months, when energy demand is high and supply is low (cloudy weather, shorter days) Tin Mountain can utilize those credits to offset our electric usage. The system (43 300-watt panels) is designed to meet 100% of our needs over the course of a year. We thus have no batteries for electric storage.
The building also sports a solar-thermal collector on the Great Room roof that heats water in a 1,500 gallon storage tank in the basement to send throughout the building as radiant heat. The facility also has a back-up 800 gallon tank that is heated by a HS TARM gasification boiler. Solar accounts for about 80% of the NLC’s heat, and wood (via the TARM) accounts for the rest. The TARM also has the capability to burn oil as a third line of defense, but TMCC chooses not to use it.
Learn more about the NLC’s solar technology in Home Power issue 135.
View up to date data and information about the NLC’s photovoltaic array, including carbon offset and revenue saved – here. (Logging since June 8, 2010)