Keeping a Low Profile

Timlynn Babitsky | Too Darn Tall!,Turbines are Ugly! | Friday, February 29th, 2008

by Timlynn Babitsky
If some of your project resistors claim a tall wind turbine is unattractive, or would spoil their view of Nature, the hills, the beach or the sea. Or if your particular small wind project offends neighbors who claim they don’t want to see “that thing” or have it strobe-shade their tomatoes – you might want check into the VAWT advantage.

Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs) are one design alternative to the Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWTs) – the tower mounted turbines with which we’re more familiar. I’ve been really interested in this design since my days on the Hi-Line in Northcentral Montana. It offers some unique advantages over the typical tower turbine and it’s a design that can be used to generate wind energy in places where there is less wind or where a tall turbine would not be suitable.

Good friend David Brockes, has been exploring VAWTs for a number of years. He most recently pointed me to the Windterra VAWTs being produced in Canada.

According to their website, “Windterra is delivering a new paradigm for green energy – small wind turbines! No one has an “affordable” small wind generator for the residential and commercial markets. There are wind generation products, but they are usually Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines directed more towards farm/rural market, requiring a tower installation for greater speeds and laminar wind-flow.”

The Windterra roof-mounted VAWT has a number of distinct advantages over costlier HAWT systems. Windterra’s products are:

  • Easily roof mountable
  • More accessible for routine maintenance
  • Less affected by turbulent air than HAWTs
  • Better suited for residential areas where other houses and trees may disturb the airflow
  • Rotate at a much lower speed than the very high speeds of existing HAWTs – thus much lower noise levels and vibration.
  • Omni-directional – they can instantaneously accept wind from any direction


  • The control system ensures that the turbine is always producing the most energy possible for a given wind speed without overloading the turbine.
  • Their products incorporate grid-tie, solar inputs, as well as optional battery charging capabilities.

If you are thinking about doing a small project – or WOW! – think bigger – a whole residential area, community or town with each house outfitted with a Windterra roof top HAWT -  now that’s a nifty picture – keep en eye on Windterra – their HAWT designs look VERY promising!

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