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New Facility Will Train Electricians in Next-Gen, Sustainable Technologies

Posted By Matt Baker On November 10, 2014 @ 4:15 pm | No Comments

The IBEW NECA Technical Institute [1] (IN TECH) campus has long been a recognizable site to drivers on I-294 as they travel through southwest suburban Alsip. It will soon stand out even more, however, after distinctive structures including turbines and solar panels go up. That’s not to mention a building that will look like the latest spaceship to land in the Chicago region since the Soldier Field redesign.

[2]Construction is under way on a renewable energy training field that IN-TECH will use to train union electricians in the latest sustainable technologies. When it is completed next spring, the project will be the country’s largest outdoor training campus of its kind.

“It’s a place to maximize the skills of our apprentices and journeymen,” said IN-TECH Chairman and Local 134 Business Manager Terry Allen. “It’s also a regional demonstration site for the latest advances in sustainable technology.”

Designed by Legat Architects [3], the most idiosyncratic element of the project will be a 4,500-square-foot building that resembles a shuttle that just disembarked from a mother ship. A glowing strip of LED lights will draw attention to the intriguingly-shaped new building which will house inverters and distribution equipment. Plans also call for a pad that charges electric cars without plugging them in.

IN-TECH_Net-zero_R [4]Even better, it will create more energy than it consumes, as it will be one of the Midwest’s first net zero energy facilities. “The building’s sloped roofs have sections clad in shingles and in metal panels so that the members of Local 134 can experience photovoltaic installations on different roof types,” said Project Manager Rob Wroble of Legat.

A ground-mounted solar field, about the size of a football field, will gather enough energy to not only power the new storage building and a welding lab in the institute’s main building, but it will also push excess energy back into the grid.

Alan Bombick, principal at Legat Architects, said, “The building’s design calls attention to the technology inside, which is at the forefront of power management techniques.” The building, as well as other new structures on the 25-acre site, will help the next generation of electricians train in the next generation of technologies.

The training facility will also include a 100-foot-tall cell tower for climbing and mounting antennae and a 60-foot-tall climbing tower for practice ascending wind turbines. The solar car port will be able to charge five electric vehicles and a solar tracker on a rotating base that automatically follows the sun’s position for optimal solar harvesting. The facility will also include a 75-foot-tall miniature wind turbine that tilts down so that students can service the turbine from the ground.

“Our contractors will have a competitive edge on the newest technologies,” said James J. McGlynn, Vice-Chairman of IN-TECH and President of McWilliams Electric [5]. The new facility should keep union electricians in the Chicago area at the forefront of sustainable technology.

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URL to article: http://www.sustainable-chicago.com/2014/11/10/new-facility-will-train-electricians-in-next-gen-sustainable-technologies/

URLs in this post:

[1] IBEW NECA Technical Institute: http://www.ejatt.com/

[2] Image: http://www.sustainable-chicago.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/IN-TECH_Aerial_R.jpg

[3] Legat Architects: http://www.legat.com/

[4] Image: http://www.sustainable-chicago.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/IN-TECH_Net-zero_R.jpg

[5] McWilliams Electric: http://www.mcwilliamselectric.com/

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