In 2013, the Friends of Lac Lawrann Conservancy opened the $900,000 Maurin Center to provide year-round educational opportunities and expand programming. It is a 3200 sq. ft. building with a 1500 sq. ft. lower level. The upper level of the Maurin Center features a 75 person classroom/activity area with picture windows overlooking the conservancy, a small serving kitchen, restrooms, and covered outdoor gathering area. This level is used for educational programs and is available for rental. Read more about facility rental. The lower level houses storage and work space for volunteer programs such as Nature in the Classroom and is occasionally used for educational programs.
The recently renovated 1860s barn is a three-season gathering place for conservancy activities. Perhaps you have visited for the Big Cedar Bluegrass Concert in September or the annual Wildflower and Perennial Sale held each May. The barn is also available for rental. Read more about facility rental.
The 1860s renovated farmhouse is used by the Friends of Lac Lawrann Conservancy’s dedicated volunteers as an onsite work space.
Electricity for the Maurin Center is generated by a bank of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels located on the north edge of the Conservancy’s parking lot as pictured here. Individual solar cells in the panels generate electricity to power the lights, heat pumps in the geothermal system that heats and cools the building, and the electrical appliances in the Maurin Center. Any excess electricity that is generated is fed back into the WE Energies electrical grid and credited to Friends of Lac Lawrann Conservancy. When the Maurin Center needs more electricity than the 19.6 kW photovoltaic system is generating at that time, it is drawn from the electrical grid and purchased from WE Energies.
Each of the 78 solar panels that you see pictured above contains 60 individual cells, making a total of 4,680 cells. When sunlight strikes a cell it produces up to 4.25 watts of direct current (DC) electricity. This current is fed by underground wiring to the mechanical room in the basement of the Maurin Center where it is converted to alternating current (AC). The current then goes out to an electrical control box near the Lac Lawrann barn where it is routed either back to the Maurin Center for immediate use or into the WE Energies electrical grid to be used by other consumers. The Lac Lawrann system does not have any batteries for storage of the electricity that is generated on site.
The PV system at Lac Lawrann is capable of generating up to 19.6 kW of power under ideal conditions. During a sunny summer day it generates approximately 100 kWh of electricity, which is closely equivalent to the average daily use of four Wisconsin residences. Thanks to a generous grant from Wisconsin Energy Foundation, a touch screen monitor on the wall of the Silver Lining Classroom in the Learning Center displays data from the PV system. It indicates the amount of electricity currently being generated, daily historical data, the amount of carbon dioxide that would have been emitted by a typical coal fired power plant to generate this same amount of electricity, and the dollars saved by not having to purchase electricity. Be sure to take a look at it when you are at an event in the Maurin Center. You can also see an overview of the energy produced, dollars reimbursed and carbon dioxide production avoided in the online report at Sunny Portal.
Donors who have contributed to help pay for the PV system are recognized on small recognition plaques replicating the actual solar panels. These are mounted near the entrance to the Maurin Center. The Friends of Lac Lawrann Conservancy, West Bend Parks and Recreation Commission, and all who use the Maurin Center wish to thank all of the donors for their generosity and support.