GreenSpark: America's First Interactive Sustainability Park
GreenSpark: America's First Interactive Sustainability Park
We're building a unique place for guests of all ages to come experience Green Building, Renewable Energy & Sustainable Transportation.
We're building a unique place for guests of all ages to come experience Green Building, Renewable Energy & Sustainable Transportation. Read more
About this project
We are building America's first interactive Sustainability Park, a unique place to experience Renewable energy, Green Building and Sustainable Transportation exhibits, all set in a park-like setting in bucolic Waterbury, Vermont.
Our mission is to inspire local and global communities to adapt current green technologies through interactive hands-on experiences.
By the opening day GreenSpark will have three exhibit categories:
Welcome Center (rendering)
Sustainable Garage (rendering)
Here are a few of the exhibits that we are planning to feature in the Sustainable Garage.
- Human-Solar Hybrid trike ELF: this comfortable human-solar powered electric trike can go for 20 miles rain or shine – with only light pedaling. A roof mounted solar panel will recharge it in time to take you back home from work. (Already Bought)
- Sebring Citicar: Before Tesla and Leaf, this was the most produced American Electric Car. (Already Bought)
- Biodiesel Setup: This exhibit shows how biodiesel fuel is produced from used vegetable oil. Many diesel cars can use biodiesel fuel without any modifications. (Already Bought)
- Flywheel Powered Bicycle: Why lose energy to friction when you want to slow down? Spin up the flywheel to slow down, and it later helps you accelerate. This bike won an engineering award, and its inventor kindly agreed to let us showcase it. (Already borrowed)
- Wood-powered Car: all you need to drive this car is wood chips, or some other biomass. In fact, people claim that they have successfully used soiled diapers as fuel. We have identified several available cars.
- Compressed Air-powered Car: This car uses compressed air to power the motor. A single quick charge allows it to go for 70-90 miles. An on-board compressor fills up the tank using a regular 110 volt outlet. We have communicated with the manufacturer and expect to be getting a demo car.
- Veggie Oil Motor Setup: When Rudolf Diesel invented what we know today as a Diesel engine, he designed it to run on vegetable oil. We identified one such motor, and will make it run on used veggie oil.
- Wind powered vehicle: This three wheeled pedal trike is also powered by the wind. This kind of vehicle recently completed a cross-country road trip, covering up to 150 miles each day. We are in touch with a manufacturer in the UK.
Here are a few of the renewable energy exhibits that we are planning to feature in the Renewable Energy section of the Park. We have already identified all the necessary elements to assemble/purchase.
- Archimedes Death Ray: This idea is attributed to Archimedes. We will use multiple concave mirrors to focus sunlight on a wooden target in order to bring its temperature up to the point of combustion.
- Secrets of the Solar Panels: This exhibit will measure the impacts of temperature, light, wind and shade on photo-voltaic (PV) solar panels. *** Already built ***
- Solar Trackers: See how various types of solar trackers help PV panels follow the sun. *** Already bought ***
- 2-Liter Light Bulb: See how you can replace a 60 watt bulb with a 2-liter soda bottle. *** Already built ***
- Solar Steam Engine: This exhibit has got it all — solar panels, a steam engine, even a train whistle!
- Fresnel Lens: Invented by the French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel, it can be used to cook an omelet or to melt a rock. *** Already bought ***
- DIY Solar Hot Water: This exhibit will show the many easy ways to harvest solar energy directly as hot water.
- Hydro-power: No time to build a second Hoover dam? No problem. This exhibit will show you different ways to harvest the power of water. *** Already bought ***
- Small Scale Wind Power Generation: This exhibit will introduce you to home-scale wind power.
- Geothermal Cooling: Even on the hottest summer day, you can count on getting an unlimited amount of free cool air. We will use this exhibit to bring cool air to a gazebo.
The following photos represent some the types of green building methods that will be featured in the Green Building exhibit. For each of these methods we'll showcase an L shaped wall with a number of interactive elements.
- Cordwood Construction: Walls in this type of house are made of leftover log ends, used as bricks, and mortar. *** Already Built ***
- Earthship: This construction type allows for the creative reuse of used tires: they are filled with dirt and are used as bricks. The house is designed to capture rainwater and to grow food for its residents. *** Already Scheduled to be built ***
- Papercrete Construction: Paper pulp, which is created by soaking old newspapers, is mixed with cement, to pour light-weight yet durable forms.
- Structural Insulated Panels (SIP): This is a modern invention, where plywood, foam boards and sheetrock are sandwiched together. All you need to build a house is to connect four panels, and cut out doors and windows.
- Adobe construction: This ancient building method is still in use in many parts of the world.
- Living Roof: See the anatomy of the living “green” roof.
- Trombe Wall Passive Solar Heating: there are many ways that passive solar heating can be accomplished; this exhibit will feature one method called the Trombe wall, where a thin vertical space produces a greenhouse effect to generate hot air even on the coldest winter days. *** Already Built ***
- Strawbale Construction: Straw bales can be used to build houses, both as insulation and as weight-bearing walls. *** Already Built ***
Current status as of spring 2017:
- We have already purchased 12 acres on VT Route 100, minutes from the Ben & Jerry 's factory, on the way to Stowe, VT
- We have worked with an engineering company and received all the necessary state and town permits.
- We have roughed-in a 20 car parking lot.
- We have started to build, make, and buy various exhibits. Here are some of the bigger results:
- We've build the cordwood and straw-bale exhibits.
- We've purchased a solar-human hybrid trike, a first mass-produced American electric car, and biodiesel setup
- We've borrowed a flywheel bicycle.
- We've constructed a hydro power setup, bought two solar trackers and two wind turbines, a gravity powered LED light, and built an interactive solar panel energy exhibit.
- 2011 initial idea of Sustainability Park
- 2011 - 2015: in-depth research, search for land
- 2015: we found land
- Spring 2016: we bought land and received permits
- Summer 2016: started building & buying exhibits
- Summer 2017: projected opening
The story behind GreenSpark:
Back in 2010-2011, we (Alex & Ella) traveled 30,000 miles across USA and Canada, seeking out and visiting countless projects in the realm of sustainability. After seeing so many different exciting ideas, a plan to share them with the world was born.
Privacy note: If you would like your pledges to remain anonymous, please let us know and we will not mention your name anywhere at all.
Press Kit: GreenSparkVT.com/kickstarter/press-kit/
Kickstarter video credits: GreenSparkVT.com/kickstarter/credits
Risks and challenges
We already own the land and have received all the permits.The next highest risk is getting delayed. It may happen due to weather - June is often very rainy in Vermont. Another risk is not being able to procure all the planned exhibits by the opening day - some exhibits, like the wood powered car, are not mass produced and are only offered for sale periodically as a DIY build. But these rare custom exhibits are a small minority of what we're planning to showcase. All in all, we are expecting smooth sailing from here to the opening day - once we're funded.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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