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Wind Beneath Your (Building) Wings

Wind is one of the biggies of the alternative energy world (along with solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass), but it notoriously has had drawbacks: it’s not always there, and when it is, you need lots of open space to harness it, because – well, let’s just say that windmill at your local putt-putt ain’t actual size. Now, those drawbacks are being mitigated with the advent of building-integrated wind turbines. These mini-windmills, designed to take advantage of the turbulent, gusty winds seen in cities, can be installed directly on buildings in high-density areas; no big, open fields necessary. The turbines supply some of a building’s power, lessening its dependence on the electrical grid. Self-sustaining buildings – workplaces, apartments and schools that are able to generate at least as much energy as they consume – are becoming reality, and wind turbines are playing a role. See them in action:

Chicago: The Ford Calumet Environmental Center, set to open next summer in an ecologically sensitive area of Chicago, is being designed with a “zero-impact footprint” goal, with wind turbines a major part of that plan.

Boston: The Logan Office Center at Boston’s Logan International Airport is adding 20 wind turbines to help offset its energy use.

Bahrain: The granddaddy of them all, the Bahrain World Trade Center, has no need for mini-windmills. They’re going with full-size turbines, lack of wide-open space be damned. Three 95-foot blades supply 11-15% of the two towers’ power, the first time windmills of that scale have been integrated into a building.

Let us know what you think. Can you see your office utilizing a windmill?

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“Wind Beneath Your (Building) Wings”

  1. Blogger Amber Says:

    Whoa -- that's a great idea! I just saw this show on the Discovery channel about renewable energy, and it is sickening to think about all this energy going to waste while I'm spending $3.40 a gallon on gas... at that''s considered cheap! thank you for the info.