Electric Car Charging and Building Integrated Wind Power

By John Addison (9/14/10)

Greenway Self-Park is Chicago’s new 11-story parking structure is the world’s first to combine integrated wind power, electric car charging, and two car sharing services with plans to offer electric cars. The green parking structure was designed by HOK, a leading global architectural firm. Beautifully integrated into the structure is a 12-paired array of vertical turbines, located on the southwest corner of the garage, designed to harvest energy 24/7 in this famous “Windy City.”

Greenway car sharing partners include iGo and Zipcar which offers members the ability to pay for plug-in cars by the hour in select markets. Car sharing is a perfect fit for millions who live in the city, primarily use transit, but at times need a car for a few hours. Both iGo and Zipcar plan to expand their offerings of electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

Friedman Properties’ new energy-efficient parking structure is currently pursuing LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Sustainable design initiatives for Greenway Self-Park include a cistern rain water collection system, electric car plug-in stations, and a way-finding system at each elevator lobby that educates Chicagoans on how to live more sustainably and better protect the environment. The 11-story structure is a beautiful and compact contrast to the vast sprawl of uncovered parking lots.

In May, I was in Chicago to give a speech about sustainable transportation at the headquarters of the American Planning Association. View my APA webinar “More Smiles, Less Miles.” I was very impressed with Chicago’s leadership in green LEED buildings, green roofs, and transit oriented development. Chicago is ranked #4 in Sustainlane’s green ranking of U.S. cities.

Chicago again demonstrates its leadership with building-integrated wind power, electric car charging, innovative car sharing, and sustainable design.

By John Addison, Publisher of the Clean Fleet Report and conference speaker.

4 replies
  1. Kimgerly
    Kimgerly says:

    Based on what I have been able to locate, this structure is another example of 'Green Gone Wrong.' I think we need to be mindful about NOT over hyping green(er) technologies. I also understand this installation has been under-performing. http://www.fastcompany.com/1683897/let-the-great-… turbines were made by Helix Wind, though the initial plan was to use Aerotecture, a Chicago-based solar and wind energy company. But after studying the wind patterns near the garage, the company decided the site was too “low power,” says Bil Becker, Aerotecture CEO. To avoid making himself–and the burgeoning wind-power industry–look bad, they withdrew from the project. “They’ll try to [force] you into building a sculpture, he says, “but we don’t make sculptures.”

  2. John Addison
    John Addison says:

    Thank you for this added information. Building integrated wind and solar power is sometimes questioned as being more for asthetics than for cost-effective energy. Rachel Arndt raises valid questions about Greenway Self-Park in her article in Fast Company. The purchase of renewable energy credits can be a more cost-effective way to secure renewable energy for many structures.

  3. Ron
    Ron says:

    I have an idea… Why not use empty stadium seats as solar collector platforms, to mount solar panels for charging electric cars, in college football stadium parking lots, during the off season, and between games? The Solar panels are incorporated into the seat platform, with a flip up cushion for charging. Flip down cushion for seating. The car charging array would resemble the old drive-in theater speaker hook-ups. Just drive in, hook up your charger and take a free shuttle to class. When you get out of class, viola! the car is fully charged! Faculty, Staff, and students all benefit. As well, do researchers and engineers for the experience gained by practical application.

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