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Mohawk partners with Groundswell to bring smartflower to Chicago community

Chicago—As part of Mohawk Group’s ongoing commitment to leave more handprints than footprints, the commercial manufacturer joined Groundswell, Elevate Energy and other partners June 13, here, for the unveiling of a new smartflower solar system. The smartflower, located at The Renaissance Collaborative (TRC) in the Bronzeville community, officially launches an innovative solar energy partnership that includes the installation of 10 units across the U.S. over the course of three years. Each system will be established in underserved communities near educational institutions with STEM programs.

Mohawk Group is sponsoring the solar energy initiative as a “handprinting” strategy for the Living Product Challenge Petal Certification of its newest carbon-neutral products designed to leave a smaller environmental footprint. The biophilia-inspired Sunweave (woven broadloom and area rug), Nutopia and Nutopia Matrix (carpet plank) and Pivot Point Red List-free ERT (enhanced resilient tile) debuted this week to the architecture and design community at NeoCon.

“We are proud and humbled to be part of the excitement happening here in Bronzeville and around the energy, sustainability and design communities of Chicago as we take another step forward in our sustainability journey,” said George Bandy Jr., vice president of sustainability and marketing for Mohawk Group. “In creating our Living Products, we wanted to extend our handprint by reaching out and setting up strategic opportunities for communities that do not traditionally receive the first fruits of what sustainability is able to offer. Together, we can help our generation and the next find meaningful educational and employment opportunities in the solar energy field.”

At the event, Bandy made a commitment on behalf of Mohawk Group to send TRC’s graduating class of solar installers to the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Chicago this November.

Each smartflower solar system optimizes the generation of solar energy throughout the day. Modular panels designed to look like flower petals autonomously follow the sun so that they are always at an optimal angle, generating 40% more energy production than traditional solar. The establishment of the 10 new units within the solar-harnessing partnership will represent an energy savings of 3.3 million kwh, enough to power approximately 308 American homes for one year. The system will help provide learning and labor opportunities for community members and local students interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

Smartflowers will also be installed in New York, Washington and Eden, N.C., later this year.