There have been a number of articles that have come out about the wind turbines atop the new Pearson Court Square building, but I think this piece on Gizmodo is really good because of all the great photos. And a helpful explanation about just what they are doing up there (beyond “blowing in the wind”).
They are vertical axis wind turbines. They look quite a bit different from the wind turbines we usually see:
That’s because vertical axis turbines are, “much better at catching turbulent winds—the kind you’d find in a city—than their well known horizontal axis cousins.” And that there are three of them is purely for aesthetics.
As far as energy output, “the turbines atop the Pearson building will produce enough energy to cover the building’s costs in common room lighting.” That might not sound like a lot but it’s at least something. That said, the turbines are currently locked in place until they are able to hash out the operational details with the energy company they’ll be working with.
You can actually see them from Queensboro Plaza, too.
Some in the article comments argue that solar is a far superior renewable energy source, and that is very true. But the Gizmodo article makes a good point: “They’re putting renewable energy in front of thousands of New Yorkers who might not be thinking about it otherwise.”