Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural landmark Taliesin West just celebrated its 75th anniversary and will also be going green, aiming to turn the development into a net-zero site by producing as much energy as it consumes. Parterships with First Solar Inc. and energy consultant Big Green Zero (both companies in Phoenix…keeping it local!) are making this effort possible, through the generation of on site energy with the installation of a 250 kilowatt solar array system with 4,000 panels, and reducing existing energy use by replacing 5,000 lightbulbs with more energy efficient models, new HVAC systems, and better insulation for roofing and other areas. The project will take three years and will hopefully put in a big dent or even eliminate the $200,000 energy bills the foundation sees every year.
“I couldn’t be more excited about this partnership with Big Green Zero and First Solar,” said Sean Malone, CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “This is an extraordinary opportunity; the goal of making a world-famous National Historic Landmark site entirely self-sustaining is unprecedented. And we’re going to make it happen. The endeavor will have a broad and deep impact for sustainability efforts throughout America and across the globe. And, importantly, the initiative is entirely consistent with the values of Taliesin West: innovation, an evolving site, embracing new technology, celebrating nature and strategic use of resources.”
Wright was a pioneer in architecture for his style and integration with nature, and this transformation will commemorate that innovative and forward thinking nature by setting an example of sustainability. Worried about massive solar panels covering the building and distracting from the original design of Wright? Don’t worry! The panels will be located out of sight from the historic core of Taliesin West, and not in any way take away from the character of his historic designs. “It’s not part of the nature that is brought into Frank Lloyd Wright spaces. It doesn’t affect that in any kind of negative way and yet we are not apologetic about it either … It’s part of the story. It’s now a part of what this place is.” says Sean Malone.
The site and tours will remain open to the public during the project. If you haven’t yet visited Taliesin West and are in Phoenix, what are you waiting for?