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How Solar Panels Work
How a Greenhouse Works


Solar Power

Solar Power

The sun's energy is used in several ways at Chicago Green Tech:

  • Generating power. Chicago Green Tech features three arrays of photovoltaic panels.
    • A roof-mounted system (28.8 kW)
    • A building-integrated system of window awnings on the south-facing side (10.8 kW)
    • A solar berm and solar panels on top of parking structuresat ground level behind the building (32.4 kW)

These systems convert the sun's light into energy for the building; together,they provide 45% of the building's total annual energy comsumption.

  • Lighting the offices. Chicago Green Tech is designed to use as much natural sun light as possible to both light and heat the offices. The technique of using sunlight in addition to electric lights is called passive solar energy. Chicago Green Tech features a smart-lighting system, which senses the level of natural sunlight in the room and automatically adjusts the amount of electric light. The smart lights are dim during the day and therefore use less energy, then automatically grow brighter in the evening when the sun goes down. Chicago Green Tech also has rooms that feature motion-sensitive lights, so if no one is in the room they automatically shut off.

Solar Panels

  • Heating the greenhouse. Unlike most greenhouses, the one at Chicago Green Tech relies only on the sun to heat the space, even in winter. The rear wall inside the greenhouse is a tromme wall, which looks like regular masonry but is three feet thick and the blocks are filled, not hollow. This briks soak up the sun's heat during the day and emit it back out at night. The only energy used in the greenhouse is to power the lights. See how a passive solar green house works.

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