The University of Minnesota and the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) are committed to all aspects of renewable energy. During the 2008 legislative session, the WCROC received funding from the state legislature for an addition to our Administration Building, which was completed in the summer of 2010. This project serves as a model for sustainable building design, and demonstrating renewable energy technologies. Our building is LEED Silver Certified (,pdf).
Using a variety of "smart energy" options - solar panels, mini-wind turbine, geothermal heating/cooling, greenhouse that utilizes gray water, Trombe walls to provide passive solar heat to the building - the building uses only renewable and environmentally-friendly sources for the power it requires. By creating a space to learn and about sustainable building, the hope exists to improve upon green building design while educating people in how they can modify their living and work spaces to use less energy.
The administration building houses WCROC faculty and staff, and the U of MN Regional Extension Office, two distinct branches of the University. The WCROC provides leadership in the generation and dissemination of agricultural and rural research. The Regional Extension Office provides access to a wide variety of research and education programs through extension educators and specialists in Morris and across the University of Minnesota system.