Chicago Center for Green Technology to Close

DSCF0177One of the landmarks of former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s green initiatives is coming to a close. The Chicago Center for Green Technology (CCGT) will cease operations after Friday, October 31, 2014. The building will no longer be available to the public for tours and no more Green Tech U (GTU) classes will be held.

“Over the past two years, funding for GTU has been limited and we are therefore evaluating the future of the program,” read a statement on the CCGT website. “Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer a full third trimester of classes this year.”

In an email confirming the closure today, the CCGT called attention to the work that so many have put into the project over the years. “We would like to extend an extra big thank you to all of the volunteers and interns that have worked at CCGT through the years! Thank you for all of the time, talent, and work you put in here. You taught us a lot and we hope you learned a lot as well.”

The CCGT was dedicated in 2002 and awarded LEED Platinum the following year, at a time when you could count such buildings on one hand. The Garfield Park building went double platinum when it re-certified last January under the latest version of LEED.

The CCGT had its roots in Daley’s Chicago Brownfield Initiative, which was designed to rehabilitate urban land that has turned fallow and toxic and return it to productive use. The 34,000 square foot building was first erected in 1952; Farr Associates led the rehabilitation effort fifty years later, crafting a living, usable facility. Sustainable features include recycled content, a ground-source heat pump system, solar photovoltaic array and 12,000 gallons of rainwater storage in four cisterns.

DSCF0097Funding for the project totaling $9 million from a HUD loan, utility arbitration, city funds and other sources provided leverage to rebuild the site in way few had ever seen. “We had a site, we had money and we had an idea,” said David Reynolds, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of General Services at an anniversary event held in 2012. The CCGT had been an initiative of the Chicago Department of Energy, but when that department folded, it was transferred to the Department of Transportation.

The GTU offered a series of lectures and seminars covering every aspect of green building, policy and other topics. A free and publicly-available Green Tech Resource Center provided a comprehensive library of sustainable products and practices. There was enough initial money to keep the educational programming afloat for ten years. But for the past few years, the CCGT has struggled to fund the program. Now, those classes will cease.

“It’s sad. I’m sad,” said Jenny Babcock, the Green Tech Programing Director at the CCGT. “I’m sure a lot of people will be also.”

The building’s other sustainable-minded occupants, including WRD Environmental and Greencorps Chicago, will remain on-site.

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Comments

5 Responses to “Chicago Center for Green Technology to Close”
  1. Tom klitzkie says:

    Where did all the resources gathered in the library go? Is there not a way to catalog these items and go virtual?

  2. Kim Perez says:

    Dear Chicago,

    This is incredible! How can the City of Chicago permit this to happen?. When there was talk promoting sustainability/recycling and then shut down one of the leading educational resources down. So what’s happening with the site now? Can I a tax payer adopt the site and grow food or would that be too like right and logical? Let people grow food teach people that eating healthy foods can be fun and a delicious food option. Permit the High school where I work revitalize.

    Frustrated and disappointed,

    Kim, from Rogers Park

  3. Mckenzi A Hilton says:

    We are at a turning point where every step is an important one. It would be a shame to take a step backwards at this time. What a wonderful idea brought to life through the hard work and efforts of the people in Chicago. Funding must be made available to ensure this project can remain open and available to the public for research and education. Start a Gofundme…..or how about some of that civil forfeiture money? There must be a way. There must be a solution. Closing the facility should not be an option.
    All my best for a positive resolution.

    X Hope….. always.

  4. howard mock says:

    This is actually unthinkable. Green oriented city? Phooey. I was just here today. Solar panels wasting away which could easily be reused elsewhere and deteriorating grounds. In this time of climate and energy crises, in this low income neighborhood – just shows the short-sightedness and lack of concern by this administration. All the placards still say Daley on them so obviously after 4 years and those not being changed, it was planned for shutdown by this administration. I am a Climate Reality leader trained in this City by Al Gore and find this incredibly stupid.

  5. Duane Ediger says:

    The courses I took in the Green Tech U. in 2013 and 2014 were pivotal in my awakening and the realignment of my life to address the fundamental changes we are facing on this planet — either by choice or imposition. Let there be coordination and commitment and spirited engagement through any and every institution and community we are part of.

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