CHICAGO, March 8, 2022 (Newswire.com) – Since the SOS Illinois Roosevelt Square Community Center opened its doors in Chicago in October 2020, it has been a hub for children and families in creating a brighter future. Verde Solutions, a full-service renewable energy developer headquartered in Chicago, collaborated with SOS Children’s Villages Illinois for a solar array on the center’s roof.
The 134-panel solar system generates clean energy for the 11,000 square foot facility that
provides family reunifications and therapeutic, academic, and recreational activities for the
Roosevelt Square Village homes.
When SOS Illinois first envisioned this community center, its commitment to building healthier communities was front and center. Now, this sleek, light-filled building features a sustainable design that helps protect the environment.
The solar energy system was installed by Fresh Coast Solar, a solar installation company based in Chicago. The solar panel system will generate nearly 2 million kWh of power over its 30-year lifespan and save an estimated $250,000 on utility bills.
“Verde Solutions was our partner all along the way, and it wasn’t just a contract or subcontract relationship. They helped us adapt the building design as painlessly as possible,” says Jeff Riemer, SOS Illinois Board Secretary.
One goal for the solar PV project was to maximize long-term utility savings for SOS Illinois. For example, the project qualifies for net energy billing with ComEd and Renewable Energy Certificates through the Illinois ABP program. This helps reduce the operating expenses of the Community Center, freeing up funds for vital services for Chicago youth.
After construction had begun, Verde Solutions joined the project and designed the solar system to maximize available roof space for clean energy production. This feat required tenacity to overcome challenges, such as permitting issues and adapting the roof design to accommodate solar panels. Despite supply chain issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Verde Solutions team demonstrated adaptability in keeping this unique project on track.
The Community Center is Chicago’s first public building constructed of cross-laminated timber, an innovative material. It is made from structurally engineered wood, consisting of layers of dimensional lumber bonded together and is highly durable.
SOS Illinois is known for its innovative approach to foster care that embraces keeping siblings together and providing a nurturing environment. As an organization dedicated to healthy communities, the connection between the SOS Illinois mission and the solar energy system is clear. “This project was much more than just solar panels,” explains Tim McCormick, CEO, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois. “It was about ways that they could shine a light on our mission.”
One way to do this is by leveraging the project’s educational value, creating experiential learning opportunities for youth. “Verde Solutions donated a large screen monitor to put in our conference room, respecting the fact that this is an educational facility,” says McCormick. “We show children how buildings can be powered in the future. This brings awareness to the young people around environmental issues and how we treat our world.”
“It’s inspiring to see young people curious to learn more about renewable energy,” says Chris Gersch, CEO & Founder, Verde Solutions. “In addition, Verde has cultivated a workplace culture of giving back to the communities in which we live and work and this project is a perfect example of that mission.”
About Verde Solutions:
Verde Solutions partners with businesses, municipalities, and educational centers across the country to develop comprehensive efficiency and renewable energy solutions. With more than 1,900 projects in 48 states completed, the turn-key clean energy consulting firm offers a customized set of solutions for each clients’ needs, including solar, HVAC, LED lighting, and cogeneration. Verde Solutions’ passion for sustainability is shared by many of its Fortune 1000 clients. Thus, it is proud to partner with these organizations to achieve significant and lasting environmental and community improvements.