GROUSE MOUNTAIN'S EYE OF THE WIND
Standing 1231 metres (4,039 feet) above the city, the Eye of the Wind has married wind technology with tourism by introducing the world’s first elevator-accessed viewPOD™. Beginning with this wind turbine Grouse Mountain is striving to become energy self-sufficient and carbon neutral by 2020.
From the viewPOD™ the 360 degree view is spectacular. On a clear day you can see southeast to snow-capped Mount Baker and Mount Rainier and, to the north their sister mountain, Mount Garibaldi. All three are part of the still-volcanic Cascade Range. To the west and southwest lie Vancouver Island, the Gulf Island, the San Juan Islands and the Olympic Mountains.
EYE OF THE WIND FAST FACTS
Overall height: 65 metres / 215 feet
Weight: 133,946 kg / 285,300 lbs / 145 tons
Diameter: 7 metres / 23 feet
Height: 5.5 metres / 18 feet
Weight: 13,600 kg / 30,000 lbs, 15 tons
Capacity: 36 people
Framework: Structural steel and glass
Glass: Tempered: 2.5 cm / .5 inches thick
Viewing Area: 360 degrees
Capacity: 7 people per passage
Speed: 1.6 metres per second
Travel time: 25 seconds
Output: 1.5 megawatt
Cut-in wind speed: 2.7 metres per second
Cut-out wind speed: 25 metres per second
Output capacity per year: Enough energy to supply power to 400 average Canadian homes
Blades: 5,530 kg / 12,200 lbs each
27.3 metres / 122 feet long
Sweep area of blades: 4,657 square metres / 28,400 sq. ft.
Blade material: Fibreglass reinforced polyester
Speed of blades at tip: 300 km / 186 miles per hour
THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE EYE OF THE WIND
Some key construction milestones:
Foundation Assembly: the foundation of the structure was the first construction phase for the Eye of the Wind. The foundation is a 2 metre (6.56 ft) high, 8 metre (26.25 ft) wide hexagonal concrete base with anchors imbedded deep into the bedrock, some as deep as 15 (49.21 ft) metre.
Wind Turbine Blade Transportation: The most logistically complex task was the transportation of the three 37.3 (122.37 ft) metre long blades which journeyed via freighter from Europe to the Fraser Surrey Docks. The blades were transferred to barge and tugged to Indian Arm. Finally, a giant Sky Crane helicopter air-lifted the blades to the Peak of Grouse Mountain.
Tower Section Transportation: The wind turbine tower was manufactured in Washington State in three sections. Each section is close to 20 metres (65.6 ft) long and made from structural steel weighing up to 45,000 kg (99,208 lbs) per section. The tower sections were transported via special low-bed trailers along expressways and city roads and finally navigated at a walking pace up Grouse Mountain’s winding 13 km (8 miles) back road.
viewPOD™ Assembly: The custom viewPOD™ was designed and manufactured in France. It was transported by freighter to the east coast of Canada and rode a train to Vancouver. This steel and glass capsule was assembled on the ground before being lifted into place.
Crane Assembly: To prepare for construction the LR1280 crane had to be brought to the project site via 17 separate truck loads. It was assembled on the ground, alongside what would become The Eye of the Wind, over a period of three days. This monster crane is able to lift 300 tons and has a 90 metre boom.
Structure Erection: The assembly of the structure took place over three days in September 2009. Each component was individually lifted by the crane and then bolted into place. The three tower sections were lifted first, followed by the viewPOD™, the wind turbine machine carrier, the generator and finally the blades. The blades were pre-assembled to the centering hub and lifted as one unit.
Post Construction Work: the months following construction saw the installation of the elevator inside the tower and the completion of the electrical components of the project. These steps transformed The Eye of the Wind from a collection of parts to a highly animated, fully-functioning natural attraction.