A recent edition of Chicago Parent magazine profiled the steps Chicago-area schools are taking to develop renewable energy.
Thanks to grants from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, solar arrays now grace the rooftops of about 100 Chicago area schools.
“The goal has been to help fund clean, renewable energy and promote energy efficiency,” says Program Officer Gabriela Martin. The foundation created the Illinois Solar Schools program in 2006, a model of educational success as students receive hands-on lessons in renewable energy.
Harnessing the wind’s power for electricity is the next frontier. Currently, only three Chicago metropolitan schools have this capability.
Rhodes School in west suburban River Grove was the pioneer when its 60-foot, 2.4-kilowatt turbine went active on April 9, 2009.
Two other “solar” schools also applied for grants to add wind power to their renewable energy portfolio. In the far south suburbs, Hinckley-Big Rock Middle School erected a 45-foot, 2.4-kilowatt turbine in August 2010; Thomas Middle School in northwest suburban Arlington Heights followed with its own 45-foot, 2.4-kilowatt turbine in September 2010.
In 2011, as a result of the three schools’ successes, ICECF instituted a pilot Wind for Schools program.
“Since wind and solar are very complementary, it made sense to give pilot preference of wind to those schools with solar panels,” Martin says.
Renewable energy development is one of the themes explored in Roosevelt University’s seminars, including SUST 210 The Sustainable Future and SUST 310 Energy and Climate Change. For more information on these or any other of our courses, please visit our Sustainability Studies website, call 1-877-277-5978 (1-877-APPLY RU) or email applyRU@roosevelt.edu.