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Enterprising Electricity: Putting Theory into Practice

March 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Electricity is so integral to our lives, but humanity’s ever-growing need for it is defacing the planet. There are many ideas on how to stop this, but to have an effect, those ideas need to take root in the real world.

By Matt Baker

Four years ago, the Illinois Institute of Technology transformed into an island. The 50+ buildings that make up the Bronzeville campus were put on a microgrid—a network of buildings, batteries and energy sources that can be detached, or “islanded,” from the power grid.

The benefits of a microgrid are numerous. They can function independently when necessary, such as during a power outage. Energy efficiency is another advantage; through the use of solar and wind generation, the IIT microgrid reduces the university’s power consumption by $1 million annually and carbon dioxide emissions are trimmed by 7%. On-site batteries store excess electricity while sensors in and around the campus buildings track energy use for optimal deployment.
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New Facility Targets Tomorrow’s Electricians

October 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

The cost to install alternative energy technology like wind and solar has steadily dropped for the last several years. One consequence of this competitive pricing on renewables is that the next generation of electricians will need revolutionary training in order to install and maintain these revolutionary technologies.

That’s where the IBEW NECA Technical Institute (IN-TECH) comes in. A joint education facility between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers #134 and the Electrical Contractors Association of Chicago, IN-TECH has graduated thousands of apprentice electricians and enhanced the skills of journeymen.

This September, they cut the ribbon on a renewable energy training field (RETF) at their Alsip campus. There, IN-TECH will prepare union electricians to use the latest sustainable technologies at the country’s largest outdoor training campus of its kind.
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Eye on Industry: The Green Method

March 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

method1Factories can be noxious and dingy places. But they don’t have to be. The nation’s first LEED Platinum manufacturing facility is under construction right now in Chicago.
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Where are All the Green Jobs?

September 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

In the last decade, green jobs have been viewed as a panacea for this country’s ails. They have the power not only to curb climate change and shrink the amount of foreign fuel imported into the United States, but to create jobs that might not otherwise exist. And of course, all of these benefits are also the first lines of defense for national security.
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Evanston Contemplates Lake Michigan Wind Farm

April 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The struggle over offshore wind turbines is one usually fought along the the East and West Coasts. But that battle is now here by the shores of Lake Michigan as the City of Evanston contemplates the installation of a wind farm off its shore.
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