Michigan Avenue Tower to Become the First Condominium in Chicago Powered by Wind

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CHICAGO, Sept. 20 -Michigan Avenue Tower, in the city's South Loop neighborhood, is poised to become the first residential condominium in Chicago to use 100 percent renewable energy to power its 29-floor building.

    Following in the footsteps of major corporations such as Whole Foods and Johnson & Johnson, the building's association has approved a contract to purchase renewable energy credits from an Iowa wind farm. The clean renewable energy will go into the electric grid to alleviate some of the system's demand for coal, gas and nuclear power-producing facilities.

    Felix Friedman, the association's president, proposed the idea of creating a "green" building. The condo association brokered a deal to purchase "green credits" from Midwest Renewable Energy Credits in the amount that offsets the total quantity of electricity used by the building. Friedman said the decision was made to help the environment, and to attract environmentally-conscious real estate owners.

    Friedman researched similar purchases to estimate that the annual carbon dioxide emissions reduced by this purchase would be equivalent to planting 30,000 trees. "What a lot of people don't understand is that more than half of today's pollution is caused by the home -- running the appliances, air conditioning and these days, two or three computers," Friedman said. "We're offsetting the pollution that we're creating by making sure that every kilowatt of energy we consume is coming from clean renewable energy."

    The cost of purchasing wind credits to association members will be approximately $7 per unit per month, but the association plans to pick up the tab through smart investing of its reserves from its annual budget. The purchase of these credits will help fund the construction of a new wind turbine in Winnebago County, Iowa. The condominium's name will be on a plaque on the turbine recognizing the association's contribution to its construction.

    Steve Dryden, the president of Midwest Renewable Energy Corporation, which brokered the deal, said it was just a matter of time before the residential market embraced cleaner forms of electrical energy.

    "It's an obvious trend to go green," he said. "Those residents that go green now are probably going to see higher resale values of their property and, more importantly, are making their small contribution to control global warming and help the earth."
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