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Green Exchange to Pilot Use of Cutting Edge Solar Thermal Technology

Green Exchange is pleased to announce today that they have been selected to be one of four major projects in Illinois that will employ solar thermal air conditioning technology. This system will use heat energy generated by solar thermal panels to cool a portion of the Green Exchange facility.

Green Exchange, the country's largest sustainable business community, will install 90 solar thermal panels and a 10-ton water cooled chiller on the rooftop which will generate air conditioning for a portion of the building. In this solar thermal system, solar heat is used to drive the cooling process while also providing domestic hot water.

"This is an elegant technology," says Sachin Anand of dbHMS, Chief Mechanical Engineer for Green Exchange. We are able to double the effectiveness of the solar thermal panels. In the summer months the panels will naturally create more hot water than is necessary for the building. The solar thermal approach allows us to turn this sustainable surplus into a cost-effective and efficient way to cool the building."

Creating a dual purpose for the solar thermal panels will invariably increase the demand for this product thereby increasing production and installation needs as well. This can only bode well for the advancement of the green collar workforce and the green economy overall.

"Creating demand for green products and services is the key to stimulating the green collar economy," says Ted Wysocki, President and CEO of Chicago's LEED (Local and Economic and Employment Development) Council. "For a highly visible project like Green Exchange to embrace this new technology elevates awareness of how effective solar thermal panels can be. This can only help to generate greater demand for the product."

Compared to conventional air conditioning, this system will save energy, reduce operating costs and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The solar thermal air conditioning system provides an energy savings of about $3,500 per year and a reduction of 17 metric tons of green house gas emissions. The dual use for both cooling and hot water increases the system's efficiency and takes advantage of the sun's natural energy year-round. Green Exchange was awarded a solar thermal grant in 2007 through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to partially fund this project.

"This system can be easily replicated and we hope that more developers will use a similar system and incorporate alternative sources of energy in their projects," says David Baum, co-developer of Green Exchange. "The solar thermal air conditioning system has broad applicability in Chicago and the rest of the county."

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