Our Green Building

The Community Recycling Center is on a five-acre site adjacent to the MSB Central Landfill by the animal shelter. It is a collection site and processing plant for recyclable items. It is operated during convenient hours in order to provide the best service to our community.

Although the main focus of the center is the collection and processing of recyclable material, it also serves as a brokerage for recovered resources, and a clearinghouse for information. From the center, VCRS will continue to provide educational outreach for schools, residents and businesses, promote wise waste management and promote the benefits of the three R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle).

The Community Recycling Center is the foundation for building a sustainable recycling program in our community. The new center was constructed at the gold level of ‘Leadership in Energy and Environment Design’ (LEED) building techniques which promote whole-building practices and energy efficiency. It minimizes the use of products that require energy to manufacture or transport. It also incorporates simple techniques that don’t further pollute the environment, consume fossil fuel or unnecessarily extract our natural resources.

We already handle thousands of pounds of materials each day. When the center begins operating at full capacity, we will be self-sustaining through service contracts, the sale of recyclable materials, processed and re-made items, and educational materials. We will also be able to handle large volumes of materials, which will allow local commercial waste-haulers to expand their services and offer curbside recycling to their clients. In 2015, working together with the MSB Central Landfill, the recycling program was enlarged to include drop-off sites for outlying communities at MSB Central Landfill Transfer Sites in Big Lake, Talkeetna, Willow and Sutton.

Renewable Energy at VCRS

VCRS continues to find new ways to utilize renewable sources to meet our long-term energy needs. Currently any electricity not used by VCRS is fed into the local MEA utility grid. In the future VCRS envisions having a bank of batteries able to store enough energy to provide an emergency shelter when needed.

In May 2011, 24 solar panels, with a 4.23kW array, were installed below the windows on the south side of the new facility. The newest piece of our renewable energy system is a Kestrel wind generator that was erected and installed in October 2012 on the hill overlooking the Mat-Su Central Landfill at the south side of the building.

The Kestrel e300i is the next generation of small wind turbines. It is a low starting machine allowing it to generate electricity at 5.5mph, while it will produce its rated power of 1000Watts, or 1kilowatt at 24.5mph. The unique attribute of this machine is that it will keep producing its rated power at higher wind speeds up to 100 mile per hour winds. The three blades feather back and expose less surface area to the wind while still turning. Other turbines have to “brake” the blades to slow it down and some turbines just shut down until the wind subsides.

Also installed in October, an anemometer (instrument that measures wind speed) now rises from the west end of the highest portion of the VCRS roof near the south side. Software was installed as well to capture the data from the solar panels, wind turbine and anemometer, to publicly share live data on the internet.

These systems reduce our footprint, and ultimately will reduce our electrical bill when we have paid off the cost of getting electricity delivered to our new facility. The collected data enables our facility to be a research and development haven for comparing solar to wind generated energy for consumers to explore their options. To view the live data:

  • Visit www.sunnyportal.com (ignore the log-on info)
  • Click on the “Publicly Available PV System” button and type “VCRS” (not case sensitive) in the space provided for PV System Name
  • Click on VCRS to reach our plant profile page. 
  • Choose from a list of graphs and statistics that share what the wind generator* and the solar panels are producing.

Walmart has provided the majority of the funding for this renewable project and Renewable Energy Systems and Ahtna Engineering have partnered with VCRS to make this project possible.

Future Systems in Planning:

  • Solar Aquatic Sewage System
  • Wood Fire Boiler
  • Wind Turbines
  • Solar (Panels, Thermal)

*wind generator has been offline since Oct 2016; blades were torn off during severe windstorm but wind speeds are still being registered via the rooftop unit.