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One Chicago-Based Company ‘Sets The Bar’ On Going Green

A wind-powered turbine towers over Testa Produces' new facility in Chicago.

A wind-powered turbine towers over Testa Produces’ new facility in Chicago.

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A local produce business is going green, and we’re not talking about the fruits and veggies. CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole explains how they’ve moved to a new building and created the nation’s greenest industrial facility in the process.

The family business known for shipping greens, has gone green in a big way, and we’re not just talking about the fleet of pallet movers that now run on methanol fuel cells

“Setting the bar high is fine…if a few people copy me that would be great, why not, ” says Peter Testa with a laugh.

Testa Produce’s new 90 thousand square foot facility sits beneath a 16 story wind turbine in Chicago’s famed stockyards. It will provide 30 percent of the building’s electricity.

50 percent of the roof is covered with vegetation to prevent water run-off and increase insulation. Nearby solar panels provide the building with hot water, while towering solar trees store additional energy.

The warehouse’s massive coolers stay that way thanks to a refrigeration system using an environmentally friendly coolant, it’s all a result of Peter Testa’s vision to build an earth friendly industrial facility.

“Part of being in the agricultural business is to have a responsibility to take care of the earth a bit better, ” says Testa.

Being this green costs a lot of green, nearly 23 million dollars.

Project managers said Testa could have saved a quarter of that by building a standard facility, but that wasn’t his vision.

“Peter never really backed down he put the bar up high and never backed down since, ” said Tim Stoeckel with Summit Design and Build.

Testa’s efforts stretch beyond the building, its fleet of 60 delivery trucks are powered by bio diesel stored on site. Over a decade Testa believes it will all add up to savings, and that’s where the businessman and the environmentalist come together.

“It just makes good business sense…if you can operate this way and save money and the environment why would you not?” says Testa.

The list goes on. A 5 thousand gallon tank collects rainwater for use to wash floors and flush toilets, and employees with fuel efficient cars are rewarded with parking spaces close to the building’s entrances.

Testa says he was able to do this because his is a family run business. It can wait over a decade for a return on these investments, big corporations need immediate results for their shareholders.

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