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Drew Ballensky is general manager of Duro-Last Roofing, Inc.’s central U.S. facility in Iowa and company spokesman for Duro-Last’s cool roofing, sustainability and architectural education programs. He is past-president of the Chemical Fabrics and Film Association and chairman of CFFA’s Vinyl Roofing Division. Drew earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from the University of Northern Iowa and master’s degree in business administration from Florida State University. Drew has over 29 years experience in business and industry in various engineering and managerial capacities. He has worked in the U.S. and Canadian operations for a major international manufacturer of pre-engineered steel buildings, was a financial analyst with a major athletic apparel manufacturer and was an owner of a general contracting company.
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Old Chicago warehouse retrofitted as urban aquaponics farm

May 16, 2012

An old meatpacking warehouse in Chicago is being turned into an urban aquaponics farm. Called “The Plant,” the facility is already operating as a fish hatchery, hydroponic garden, commercial kitchen and brewery for both beer and kombucha tea. The waste from one part of the farm serves as raw material for another, making it a net-zero system.

Fish feed on spent barley from the brewery, and plants feed on waste from the fish. Kombucha tea cultures feed off oxygen produced by plants, while plants feed off carbon dioxide produced by the kombucha cultures. In about a year, The Plant will have an anaerobic digester, which will convert waste to biogas that will be used to power turbines to create electricity. Once the anaerobic digester is installed, The Plant will be completely off the grid. (


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