The EERC is a beautifully designed multipurpose facility, with meeting rooms and a wet lab, in addition to the 6,000 square foot exhibit area, where visitors can learn about electricity usage, energy sources, environmental challenges and climate change.
One of the more popular exhibits is an energy timeline, where visitors move a computer screen over the stationary timeline wall to see energy-related developments and inventions over time.
Another popular site is the computer that tracks the electricity production of the on-site wind turbine and solar panels. One thing I learned is that snow has to melt naturally on solar panels, no brushing away – which explains the low energy production in February 2010, when the northeast got blasted with record-setting snow storms.
[Aside: Yes, I’ll remember the winter of 2009/2010. It’s the one that canceled our family’s much-anticipated Caribbean escape. We trudged a half mile – with luggage – through 27 inches of snow at 3:00 a.m. to the plowed street to wait for the confirmed airport shuttle, which after an hour, still had not arrived. It was NOT a happy day. End aside.]
Visitors also like to calculate their carbon footprint. Asking about driving habits, type of home, eating habits (Red meat? Fish? Veggies per week?), etc., the computer calculates your energy use, and how it compares to the average American. Assuming the entire world’s population used as much energy as the average American, we would need the resources of about six Earths to supply our energy needs. Gulp.
In addition to learning about renewables, there’s a detailed exhibit on nuclear energy, helping to demystify our country’s largest source of non-carbon emitting energy. There is opportunity to learn about radiation, the production of nuclear energy, and even used fuel.
The EERC is being promoted and serves the community as a resource for school outings, teacher workshops, and outside company functions. In addition, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is using the center’s modular set-up as the start of a “library” for NEI members looking to develop their own energy learning centers. Depending on the size of the facility and other resources, groups can customize their centers to their specific goals and needs. Now that’s saving time, energy, and money!
For groups looking to visit the center, or to find out more information about the EERC, please contact Lisa Barile at lisa.barile at pseg dot com.