Because of our opposition to development projects like Leucadia’s on the Southside, we are often asked, “What would you be agreeable to?”  Our answer,  “ green sustainable industries that: don’t negatively impact the community,  can provide descent paying jobs, are attractive and enhance the neighborhood .”  Followed by, “ where are you going to get something like that?”  Last Tuesday,  SETF set out to find out the answer. 

With a few members in tow, we boarded the trolley and headed to 45th and Racine to see the Platnium LEED Certified Testa Produce Facility.  Down the Dan Ryan we went aboard Molly, South Chicago’s Green Trolley, and with the view flaps rolled up, the ride was both noisy and thrilling.  Huge trucks whizzed past us, so close that if we stuck our hands out – well you get the picture. 

SETF arrives via the South Chicago Chamber’s Trolley
765,085 Gallon External Retention Pond sits at the entrance of the facility.  Testa stands out like a “green thumb” among the many traditional industries in the area.  A traditional plant that renders animal fat (complete with odors) can be seen in
the background.

SETF Members gather in front of building taking in all of the green intiatives.

First free standing wind turbine in Chicago.

Each blade is 70 feet long.  It’s shadow during March and September can stretch almost a mile radius.
It generates 880,000 KW/hrs per year offsetting about 80 homes worth of energy.

At the site, Angela our tour guide greeted us with a friendly smile and told us a little about her time with Testa. She immediately launched to an explanation of how Testa was a 100 year old company and what made Testa a LEED Certified facility.

Members asking questions on second floor of building.  The floor to ceiling glass windows will eventually be covered by a trellis of vines.

Draught resistant vegetation covers 50% of roof, releases oxygen for clearn air, insulates the building decreasing
heat waste emissions and lengthens the replacement time of the roof.

 A roof top deck with a view of our beautiful downtown skyline  is available to their employees.

Angela points all all the unique green features of their roof like the rows of solar panels.
 SETF gets a view of the warehouse portion from the working offices.
 5000 gallon internal cistern collects filtered rainwater for non-potable uses.  Typically provides all water for flushing toilets.  Water efficiency leads to over 40% of building’s water demand.
An  Eco friendly Ammonia Glycol refrigeration system keeps produce cold.
 Group gathers in lobby for departure, asking questions to the very last mintue.
It was hard to imagine that an attractive facility like Testa stood on the ground that was once an assulting industry like the stockyards.   At the conclusion of the tour, we felt assured that businesses could be greener, that brownfields could indeed be developed in a more sustainable, attractive way, and that we now had to find a way to help that happen.