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Testa Produce Inc., an independent wholesale produce distributor based in Chicago, took another step toward its goal of gaining U.S. Green Building Council Platinum certification with the installation of an on-site 750-kilowatt wind turbine.

The company celebrated the grand opening of the facility May 10 with a ribbon cutting and speeches by top

A 238-foot-tall freestanding wind turbine on the roof of the Testa Produce facility in Chicago is expected to generate up to 1 million kilowatt hours of zero-emissions energy per year -- enough to supply 35-40 percent of the facility's energy needs. (Photo by Tad Thompson)
city dignitaries, included roughly 200 guests from the produce industry, the city and other interests.

 

The first of its kind in Chicago, the freestanding turbine stands 238 feet tall near the entrance to Testa’s new state-of-the-art distribution center in the Chicago Stockyards Industrial Park, quietly harnessing some of the city’s famous wind and transforming it into clean energy.

The turbine, manufactured by Massachusetts-based Aeronautica Windpower, is expected to supply 950,000 to 1 million kilowatt hours per year of zero-emissions energy - enough to supply roughly 35 percent to 40 percent of the 91,000-square-foot facility’s needs. Testa expects a seven- to eight-year return on its investment in the turbine.

“Using wind power is a cornerstone of our commitment to maximizing the sustainability of our operations and to setting a new, significantly higher standard for green operations in our industry,” Peter Testa, president and chief executive officer of Testa Produce, said in a statement. “We’re proud to have selected a U.S.-built turbine and to be the first company in the city of Chicago to be generating its own wind power with its own freestanding turbine.”

At the Testa facility, the wind turbine is just one of many advanced sustainability features, which also include a vegetated roof, solar panels and an extensive rainwater reclamation system. The facility was designed by Epstein architects. Summit Design + Build served as the construction manager and WBS Equities served as owner’s project consultant. Construction and permanent financing was provided by MB Bank. All are local Chicago-based concerns.