It's a Chicago tradition to dye the River a bright green on St Patrick's Day. No environmental symbolism intended: just an aquatic parade route decoration that disperses into the suspended solids. These days Chicago's most prominent green, however, is more along the lines of plants on rooftops, solar power, and LEED certified public buildings. Her latest experiment, deploying a totally new design of wind turbine by Aerotecture on the legendary "Big Shoulders", is an attention getter that surpasses the fluorescein dye. We think the tourists are going like this one all year...and the hoteliers, and the Chamber of Commerce (recently turned into a band of TreeHuggers we suspect). Check out the streaming video of a prototype of this turbine via local news station [Windows OS only]. And, please read on for excerpts from coverage by the Sun Times.
Here's architect Helmut Jahn's rendering of his new apartment complex (see below) with integrated turbines.
"This spring, planners said Monday, two wind turbines will be mounted on the Daley Center, and eight more on a Helmut Jahn-designed building on the Near North Side...Plans to place turbines on the Museum of Contemporary Art for its "Massive Change" exhibit, opening in September, are in the discussion stage".
"...The projects will provide answers about how practical and affordable wind power can be here, said Sadhu Johnston, the city's environment commissioner. Some day, turbines could be on top of commercial and residential buildings all over Chicago, he said. His department is putting together an "urban wind map" to see what areas of the city have the most potential".
"Becker, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and CEO of Aerotecture Ltd., calls his device an "aeroturbine." It's a 20-foot-long, 5-foot-wide horizontal cylinder containing a helical plastic sheet that catches the wind. "It's almost like a DNA structure, or like a twisted sail," he said".
"Recent studies show that a conventional turbine kills up to 7.5 birds a year. But Donnie Dann, president of the Chicago-area Bird Conservation Network, said, "This design is as close to zero as they can get.""
For a Municipality known as the ""City of Big Shoulders"", a.k.a "Windy City", and celebrated world-wide for its remarkable architecture, building integrated wind turbines should not be much of a burden. The world needs all the heroic leadership it can get to combat climate change. Maybe we should introduce them to some Swedes? Rivers of ideas might cross the sea, bringing future heroes into being.
We weren't kidding about dyeing the river green either. Wacker Drive runs parallel (East to West) to the river on the south bank, across the river from this vantage. The dye is biodegradable by the way. And we think, in context, it's no less natural than a green roof on City Hall.
And for you 'soft little clean-coal-adoring US cities', here's a TreeHugger challenge, by way of an excerpt from Carl Sandberg's epic poem "Chicago":
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
little soft cities;