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Phoenix Press : Little Wind Goes Long Way

August 2010 By Julie Greenbaum
Associate Editor
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Brothers Brian and Kevin Driscoll, co-owners of New Haven, CT-based Phoenix Press, could not help but be excited about their new 156-foot wind turbine. Not only did Brian Driscoll wear a tie that was embellished with mini wind turbines during the company's groundbreaking ceremony, but on the day of the turbine's completion, he climbed up on a platform that stood adjacent to the turbine and squeezed into a bucket to pose next to the company's new pride and joy.

The brothers never imagined that their family owned commercial printing business, located in a 60,000-square-foot facility near the tributary of the Quinnipiac and Mill rivers in New Haven Harbor, would serve as a prime location for harnessing wind energy. But when Brian Driscoll thought about turning Phoenix Press into an environmentally friendly printer, that's when the idea came to him.

Walking the Talk

"I was looking for ways to cut down on our overhead expenses, and realized that we had an ideal location, with plenty of land available for constructing a wind turbine to harness the wind," he says. "Now, we can accomplish our goal of saving money on energy costs, while also operating our business in a more sustainable manner."

Taking more than four years to plan, aided by a grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, the 100-kilowatt, Northwind 100 wind turbine was installed in February by Alteris Renewables, a specialist in the installation of solar and wind systems based in Wilton, CT. Despite the dewatering process that needed to be implemented because of the turbine's close proximity to the river, the installation only took about six weeks to complete.

According to Brian Driscoll, by adding the turbine, Phoenix not only changed New Haven's physical landscape, it also changed the landscape of the printing industry by reportedly becoming the first company to install a commercial-grade wind turbine directly onsite.

The new turbine is estimated to provide one-third of Phoenix's energy requirements over a yearly basis, saving the printer around $35,000 in annual utility costs. It can produce electricity with wind speeds as low as six miles per hour, and as high as 55 mph, before its automatic brake system slows the blades. The clean energy generated in the nacelle at the top of the tower runs through a trench directly into the company's building through a series of cables and wires.

 

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