Based on what I have been able to locate, I think this structure is another example of ‘Green Gone Wrong.’ I reiterate, I think we need to be mindful about NOT over-hyping some green(er) technologies. I also understand we can model a technology to death, but until this machine/device is actually installed in the environment it is expected to perform, we will not know the true performance outcome–and this, naturally, will only come with time.

To the best of what I have been able to garner so far, I also understand this VAWT (vertical axis wind turbine) installation has been under-performing. I, however, aim to find out more, before I issue my final ruling. I located this article:

Greenway’s turbines were made by Helix Wind, though the initial plan was to use Aerotecture, a Chicago-based solar and wind energy company. But after studying the wind patterns near the garage, the company decided the site was “too low power” says Bil Becker, Aerotecture CEO. To avoid making himself–and the burgeoning wind-power industry–look bad, they withdrew from the project. They’ll try to [force] you into building a sculpture, he says, but, we don’t make sculptures.â

I have made contact with the vendor, Helix Wind, to see if I could garner more enlightenment on how this installation is actually performing and what the history of this installation truly encompassed. Mind you, my goal is to cheer lead, and ensure that greener deployments are viewed favorably and not undermined due to short-sightedness or misinformation.

I understand that this parking structure was originally to be commissioned back in September 2009. But due to there being a change in wind turbine manufacturers, this building was commissioned and the wind turbines became operational approximately Feb 2010. I placed a call into the Helix Wind technical support desk, and asked the engineer the following:

  • Which model of your VAWT is installed on the Greenway Parking Self-Park in Chicago, IL?
  • And how long has this installation been commissioned/deployed?
  • How long have you been collecting wind data?
  • How is it performing? Capacity factor?
  • What is Cp (coefficient of power) of your designs? I understand for a Hybrid/Savonius WTG, the theoretical max is ~= 0.24.
  • What is the gap between the turning bodies? I understand the optimal range for this parameter is 0.1-0.15m.

When I know more, you’ll know more…