Green Energy on Main Street

Berwyn’s business community supports green initiatives. Notably, World’s Largest Laundromat and Cermak Plaza have taken great strides in protecting the environment.

laundrysolarThe World’s Largest Laundromat is the flagship store of the laundry industry, known worldwide for its state-of-the-art technology. With more than 300 machines spread over 13,500 sf, the laundromat does indeed fit the profile as the “world’s largest,” and has been honored as such by the Guinness Book of World Records!

This father-sons business has been featured in newspapers and newscasts on every continent except Antarctica, and the operation has even become a tourist destination. The 36-panel solar thermal system – one of the largest installations in Illinois – sustains the hot water for its washers. The emissions it saves is the equivalent to planting 56 acres of trees each year. Other green features: “express” washers that cut dry time in half, retrofitted efficiency lighting, and recycle bins for everything from laundry detergent bottles to old clothes. The Sundance Channel featured them on their “EcoBiz” segment. Their recycling initiative recently landed them the Green Rookie of the Year award through USAgain’s Green-T Awards.

Beyond the green initiatives, the store offers a host of amenities including a kids’ play area, big screen TVs, a bird sanctuary, and free pizza on Wednesday nights. Visit their website to learn more, watch videos and plan a visit!


cermak plazaOnce famous for the now-defunct Spindle, known affectionately as the “car-kabob” featured in the Wayne’s World movie, the shopping center on the southeast corner of Cermak Road & Harlem Avenue has undergone significant façade and parking lot upgrades and added green elements including LED lighting and wind turbines for clean energy.

Cermak Plaza has a long legacy of celebrating public art starting with its iconic bent arrow sign to its controversial modern pieces erected in the 1980s. Today, Cermak Plaza still has 20 pieces of public art on display. In 2010, the plaza installed twelve wind turbines in the parking lot. Part art form and part function, the 35-foot tall installations generate up to 2,500 kilowatt hours of power to Cermak Plaza’s tenants which include: Tony’s Fresh Market (coming soon!), K&G Fashion Superstore, Marshalls, Office Depot, McDonald’s & Walgreens among others. These turbines generate enough power to light the space and pass excess power back to the grid. The LED lights are programmed to change colors and can display over 100 different light shows.