The Apgar Visitor Center is certified LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design); however, the building still uses electricity to operate essential items like computers and lights. This project would install a solar energy system that would be capable of offsetting the electrical usage of the building by 100%, making it a “net zero” user of non-renewable electricity and helps Glacier National Park kickstart a larger sustainability mission.
A 17-kilowatt solar panel system on the roof or grounds of the Apgar Visitor Center would be tied to the electrical grid through an agreement with Flathead Electric Cooperative for electrical regeneration possibilities. The system would consist of 50 340-watt panels installed as an array, and would include a kiosk-type monitoring display for visitors and staff to observe output in real time.
The Apgar Visitor Center is one of the most visited buildings in the park. It serves as a contact station for park visitors, a starting point for the Going-to-the-Sun Road and is the epicenter of the transit system. The roof alignment is ideal for maximizing solar energy during the core hours of the day and will also save the park in electrical bills over its lifespan, allowing the savings to be distributed to other park operations or initiatives.