Due to the remote location of the refuge, we are off the power grid, and therefore must be self-sufficient for all our power needs. Solar provides a convenient, economical, environmentally friendly way of meeting our needs for electricity. Everything from computers, to our power tools, to our water pumps runs off of a solar system.
Excess power generated during the day is stored in battery banks, and can then be inverted to light the buildings during the night. The largest bank of solar panels and batteries provides electricity to our community kitchen, office and tool shop. Our vet building, visitor center, and two bunk houses each have their own, self-contained solar and battery systems. Our well is connected directly to its own solar panel, pumping a steady flow of water up to a large holding tank behind the kitchen as long as there is sunlight.
Passive Solar Heating
The primary structures at Mission: Wolf are designed and built to take advantage of Colorado’s sunny days. We work to achieve sustainability by using locally available recycled materials to create Passive Solar Heated structures. By adapting construction techniques to use sustainable materials, and integrating the unique design combinations of size and location of doors, windows, walls and roof overhangs the buildings work as a unit to gather the most solar heat possible. Mission: Wolf has created simple, energy efficient buildings. While these considerations may be directed to any building, achieving an ideal solution requires careful integration of these principles.
Passive heating systems make use of naturally available heat sources to keep a building warm without the need for stoves or other heating devices. All of the buildings at Mission: Wolf are designed with large, south-facing windows to let in sunlight to keep us warm during the day, the same way the interior of a car left in the sunlight will get warm, even on a cold day. In addition, the buildings are well insulated and dug into the hillside so the north walls are earth-bermed, which helps keep much of the heat from the sun indoors, and greatly reducing the amount of firewood we need to burn to get through the winter.