CHICAGO - At the one-year anniversary of the August, 2003 Northeast blackout, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn saluted the John G. Shedd Aquarium for their massive energy-saving, environmentally-friendly initiative to make a soy-based roof out of 36 acres of home-grown Illinois soybeans.
The new soy-based roof will reduce air pollutants (creating the same effects as planting 41- acres of trees) and decrease demand on the air-conditioning system, save an estimated 95,000-kilowatt hours and at least $219,000 in utility costs over the 20-year life-span of the soy roof.
The soy-based roof at the Shedd will also combat the “urban heat island effect” by using the highly reflective soybean-derived white coating which stays cool, unlike traditional black asphalt roofs which get hot in the summer and can raise air temperature by two to eight degrees. The soy-based roof is non-toxic, highly reflective, flame resistant and 100 percent waterproof.
Opened in 1929, the John G. Shedd Aquarium is one of the oldest public aquariums in the world and remains the largest indoor aquarium in the world.
Joining Quinn were Brad Popovich, head of facilities, John G. Shedd Aquarium; Susan Barton, member of the John G. Shedd Aquarium’s Green Team; Bob Romo, Illinois Clean Energy Foundation; and Stan Pepper, Managing Partner, Green Products.
“I applaud Shedd for their continuous efforts to implement energy-efficient practices, making it one of the ‘greenest’ buildings in Illinois. This project proves that green practices and strengthening our local economy can go hand-in-hand,” Quinn said.
After the worst blackout in North American history in August, 2003, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich convened the “Special Task Force on the Condition and Future of the Illinois Energy Infrastructure”. The Special Task Force, chaired by Lt. Gov. Quinn, was charged with examining Illinois’ electric grid, nuclear safety procedures, and personnel levels at power generating and distribution facilities. It was asked to develop ways to promote efficiency and foster renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and biomass. It examined emergency preparedness and
back-up communications systems at key state agencies and energy efficiency standards in other states.
Last month, the Task Force released a comprehensive report and 32 recommendations on ways to avoid widespread power outages in Illinois. The report and recommendations are available at www.BlackoutSolutions.org. Among the 32 recommendations presented in the report were: more homegrown renewable energy, enhanced investment in utility employees, and stronger cyber security.