Driving west from Van Wert, I observed hundreds of wind power installations. I'm curious to know how much energy they produce. Once you reach the state line of Indiana, there is no more wind power. Is Ohio more windy than Indiana? Hmmmmmmm.
My first destination was Sweetwater music on the outskirts of Fort Wayne. They are a huge mail order firm and I've bought many musical instruments and paraphernalia from them over the years. I was hoping to try out some keyboards in their showroom. I did so and that was great fun. However, the highlight of the trip was completely unexpected. It turns out that their facility is LEED PLATINUM, the highest such green designation of the USGBC (United States Green Building Council). It is the only such commercial building in Indiana.
Delvin Wolf, my sales rep there for many years gave me a terrific tour. The campus features Google style recreation facilities, a huge automated warehouse, music studios, showrooms, an excellent cafeteria, a place where you can get haircuts, a fitness center, and a spectacular, state of the art theatre, as well as meeting rooms for workshops, company trainings, and other educational possibilities. Plus, they are expanding and will have a huge new addition ready to roll in a few weeks. The CEO, Chuck Surack, is clearly a very innovative and progressive business man.
The geen features are impressive. They include a very interesting cooling system that involves making ice, storing it, and then using it to cool the building. The materials are all non-toxic, recycled, and mainly locally sourced. The air and light flow is outstanding. I was similarly impressed with all of the building signage. There are numerous interpretive displays that clearly and attractively explain how and why the building is green. A building tour is an education in sustainability. Congratulations to the Sweetwater folks for helping to lead the way!
I departed Sweetwater and departed North to Grand Haven, Michigan where I am visiting my friend Mark Van Putten, the former CEO of the National Wildlife Federation and now the principal of Conservation Strategy. We took a short bike ride around town and out on a few jetties, a great introduction to Stupendous Lake Michigan. We plan a longer ride this morning and pictures will follow in tomorrow's posting.
See below for a few pictures of Sweetwater. First comes the automated warehouse.
Lots of boxes moving around conveyor belts, all carrying musical equipment!
The showroom area comes next
And finally the theater.