Image credit: Epstein
When I wrote about a solar-powered refrigeration warehouse in Baltimore, I noted that the warehouse's visibility made for a great billboard for the potential of clean energy. Now another major distributor is making big waves for renewables with the launch of a green-built distribution warehouse in Chicago that features not just solar panels, but a 750kW wind turbine, a huge green roof, LED lighting, 100% solar hot water, rainwater catchment, electric vehicle charging and sun-tracking solar skylights. Now that's what I call a billboard for greener building!Testa Produce's new super-green warehouse in Chicago is certainly an important landmark for both greener building and a cleaner food distribution system. Earthtechling reports that the Testa Warehouse boasts Chicago's very first large urban wind turbine, among its many green features:
Sustainable and/or energy efficient features of the building include a freestanding 238-foot, 750kW wind turbine (Chicago's first); solar hot water; a 45,000-square-foot green roof; a sophisticated rainwater harvesting system built around cisterns, bioswales and a retention pond; solar power; and LED lighting. The facility makes use of recycled and reused building materials, and day-to-day operations will also emphasize recycling.
Of course, the most ardent advocates of local food and seasonal eating might note that there is a certain irony in a major produce distributor going so aggressively green. But then Testa has also been exploring programs to support local food too (details of this are a little sparse on their website).
Given Lloyd's previous note that local food distribution infrastructure needs serious work, these are promising signs that this warehouse could be a step forward for both green building and local food.
With refrigerated long-distance freight becoming more viable, large warehouses like this embracing energy efficiency and clean power, and local food becoming a significant force in the mainstream market, these are tantalizing signs of the kind of systems innovation that Forum for the future has been promoting in other sectors .