Wind turbines added on McCabe expected to increase sustainability awareness

With three LEED-certified buildings on the Lincoln Park campus, DePaul is always looking for ways to reduce its carbon footprint. In July, the university installed two wind turbines on the roof of McCabe Hall to continue its “green” efforts.

However, the wind turbines do not contribute much energy to the building, but Vice President of Facility Operations Robert Janis described the project as more of a “statement and awareness project.”

“If they see things like wind turbines, scores of recycling containers and solar lighting on campus as they move about it, it is our hope that this translates or turns into new and wonderful habits at home,” Janis said.

The power generated from the turbines is brought back to the building’s power grid, which helps supply some power to the building, Lincoln Park Facility Manager Frank Matijevic said.

When the turbines are operating, they only generate small quantities of energy, and the energy produced is not powering any specific elements in the building, but it “is just that much less coal burned to make power,” Janis said.

The turbines installed at the end of July are identical to the turbines on top of McGowan North on the Lincoln Park campus, Matijevic said.

The white turbines, visible from the Fullerton “L” platform, do not always appear to be working or spinning. Matijevic said that is normal and that there must be six to eight mph winds for the turbines to rotate.

“Wind turbines, especially of this size, are only moderately effective,” Janis said. “Since we put them up, we have had a lot of ‘flat’ wind days meaning that no electricity was generated.”

Janis said he expects to see them moving more in the fall, winter and spring.

The university has no future plans to install more turbines on the Lincoln Park campus and needs time to see if the turbines are a “beneficial piece of equipment,” Matijevic said.