RPU is a major partner in Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center, a state-of-the-art educational site in northwest Rochester.
The non-profit center focuses on our connections with energy, water and the southeastern Minnesota environment, especially wetlands.
Cascade Meadow's distinctive exhibit building was designed to become one of the most energy-efficient commercial structures in the state. The science center houses 11 exhibits and is the starting point for three indoor/outdoor "trails" to visitors.
RPU has provided interactive, hands-on exhibits about energy and water conservation, the elctrical grid and Rochester's water system. We also erected two working wind turbines and three solar panels that produce some of the electricity used by the center. They were chosen to demonstrate types of renewable energy generators that are readily available in today's marketplace.
At Cascade Meadow, RPU demonstrates practical ways to "Conserve & Save" energy, water and our environment:
- Learn how much electricity some appliances use, detect "phantom power", and pick up hints about electric savings in RPU's Energy Fun House.
- Do your best to keep the lights on in the city on a summer day with steam, solar, wind and hydroelectric turbines. It's not as easy as it looks!
- Discover the real sources of your drinking water. Follow the blinking lights describing our city's water systems.
- Look below the street at a subterranean network of storm sewers on the city's south side. Then figure out ways you can curb water pollution.
- Size up your water footprint. How much water do you really use? (HINT: More than comes out of the faucet.)
RPU's displays are just part of Cascade Meadow's activity. Inside the front door, visitors can trace the Zumbro River's long journey from Claremont through Rochester to the Mississippi River from a bird's-eye view on a giant floor map.
A glass-walled viewing port overlooks Cascade Meadow's primary project – creation of eight different types of wetlands once prevalent in southearn Minnesota. Eventually, two miles of walking trails will allow visitors to explore the wetlands up close.
Cascade Meadow offers numerous ways to discover our connections with energy, water and nature.
RPU's Goals at Cascade Meadow
- Provide an educational resource site to help customers manage their energy use.
- Offer practical application of energy conservation in line with RPU’s Conserve & Save® Rebate Program
- Demonstrate market-ready means of generating renewable electricity.
- Look ahead to possible future means of electric generation, such as the "Smart Grid".
- Give our customers a local forum to gain the most relevant information about drinking water, ground water protection, and water conservation.