Parking garages aren't particularly known for their architecture -- or their green design -- but a new parking garage in Chicago is breaking the mold by harvesting power from gusts blowing through the heart of the windy city. The street-facing facade of the Greenway Self-Park features 12 vertical-axis wind turbines that harvest the wind whipping through the city streets. Designed by HOK, the wind-powered garage also features rainwater collection, electric car plug-in stations and placards throughout the garage to educate parkers on sustainable living.
Located at the corner of Kinzie and Clark Streets, the wind energy system consists of 12 paired vertical axis wind turbines, which twist like candy poles at a barber shop while harnessing moving air from the streets. This installation is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before and it takes a really innovative approach to building-integrated wind turbines. The renewable energy generated from the system goes to power the exterior lights of the garage, and if any excess power is generated it gets fed into the grid.
The 11-story energy-efficient parking garage is seeking LEED certification after the developers of the project asked HOK to envision what a “green” parking garage would look like. Also included in the project is a rainwater collection system, plug-in stations for electric vehicles, and a glazed screen external wall that promotes natural ventilation. The elevator lobby of each floor also features a way-finding system to educate Chicagoans on how to live more sustainably and better protect the environment.