Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation research tower to be Earth-friendly

BY SUSAN SIMPSON Published: March 27, 2009
The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation will unveil plans today for a $125 million research tower combining high technology with low energy.

The 185,000-square-foot tower will feature 24 wind turbines designed like the double-helixes of DNA, solar panels and expanses of natural light. Together, they are expected to decrease electricity usage by up to one-third.

"This tower will be the first medical research facility anywhere to harness the wind to help power its labs,” said Dr. Stephen Prescott, president of OMRF. "It will be a model of energy efficiency and resource preservation.”

He said the design sends an important message.

"It’s a statement about being forward-looking and state-of-the-art in everything we do,” he said. "We want to show we are trying to be innovative in every part of our organization.”

The turbines have a unique design being patented by Synergy California, said Reinhold Ziegler, a partner in the company and the turbines’ designer.

The turbines — to be built into the top of the structure — are soundless and shrouded in materials that accelerate the speed of the wind to double the output. Solar panels are incorporated in the design.

From fundraising, OMRF has $51 million of the $125 million needed to build and equip the structure, and to recruit dozens of top scientists and technicians.


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