Pepsico goes green in Chicago

March 9, 2009 2:28:01 PM PDT
Renewable energy is not just a concept at one Chicago business, but the owners are putting it into practice, and it's on display for everyone to see. The city of Chicago's skyline is always changing. One company is now making it a little greener, by tapping into the wind and sun.

If you've passed by the intersection of Jefferson and Monroe recently, you probably noticed a new addition.

Atop Pepsico's Chicago headquarters are wind turbines that catch wind to produce electricity. Solar panels harness the sun to generate more power.

"Seventy percent of all the electricity used in the United States goes into buildings, and so, we decided if we're going to be a sustainable company, we've got to address the footprint that our buildings exert," said

It's all part of a sustainable movement driven by employees whoccall themselves the Pepsico Green Team.

"Our goal as a team is to promote environmental sustainability both at work and at home," said Meagan Smith, an organizer of the Pepsico Green Team. "Over the course of a year, we were able to reduce our electricity on our floors by 22 percent and reduce our paper use by 34 percent."

The team also inspired the creation of a sustainability center. It offers interactive displays to teach employees how to lessen their carbon footprints.

The center is also constructed using numerous eco-friendly materials, like quickly renewable bamboo floors, chairs made from plastic beverage bottles and orange peels in the wall panels. Their environmental efforts have earned them notice.

"What we became was one of five buildings in Illinois that got existing building certification from the U.S. Green Building Council," said Tim Carey of Pepsico Chicago.

Visitors can get a closer look at the wind turbines because Pepsico's rooftop garden is open to the public.

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