Chicago Codes -- Know the Code

Wash the Planet in Green

April 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

As you’re likely aware, today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Much has changed since its creation by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI). The focus early on was environmental toxins, from polluted rivers to acid rain. Those threats have been abated slightly, but not eliminated (according to Friends of the Chicago River, for example, 1.2 billion gallons of sewage end up in the waterway every day). Since 1970, our understanding of the environment has grown, as has our lexicon of menaces: climate change, urban heat island, ozone depletion, VOC, HFC, GHG.
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Evanston Contemplates Lake Michigan Wind Farm

April 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The struggle over offshore wind turbines is one usually fought along the the East and West Coasts. But that battle is now here by the shores of Lake Michigan as the City of Evanston contemplates the installation of a wind farm off its shore.
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Chicago Among Top Five Greenest U.S. Cities

March 31, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Continuing a national appraisal begun last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ranked the top U.S. cities in terms of efficient buildings. Chicago moved to fifth overall, up one spot from the previous year. The ranking is based on number of building which garnered the EPA’s Energy Star rating, of which Chicago has 134.
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Chicago Announces Creation of Green Jobs Using Recovery Act Funds

March 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The City has used $16 million received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment program to create more than 650 “green” jobs for formerly-incarcerated individuals, Mayor Richard M. Daley said last week.
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Chicagoland Roofing Council Green Roofs Update

March 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Bill McHugh, CRC Executive Director

What’s up with Green Roofs? The Chicagoland Roofing Council (CRC) is up, with a view from the top. Read on for where roofs are going in the future, and why proven methods from the past are needed to keep these new systems viable.

“Green roofs can be of the garden, reflective, ballast or photovoltaic variety,” said CRC President Rod Petrick. “The Chicagoland Roofing Council contractors understand these technologies, and know how to make these systems work.” They only work if the roof doesn’t leak. It’s not about the panels, the plants, the light colored coatings or ballast/pavers, it’s about what’s underneath that counts: the roof.
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Mad Scientists: The Crazy Ideas That Just Might Save the World

March 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

After the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the United States government believed that the Soviet Union had not only leapfrogged them technologically, but had become a grave threat. This resulted in the creation of a federal research and development arm—the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, later DARPA). Defense research efforts under this agency resulted in the unmanned Predator drone currently at work in Afghanistan and Iraq, the F-117 stealth fighter and most notably, ARPANET, the predecessor to the Internet.
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Smart Grid 101

March 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Michael Munson, Metropolitan Energy and
Michael Cornicelli, BOMA/Chicago

What is Smart Grid? Smart grid is a term with varied meanings to different audiences. The multitude of perspectives makes it difficult for consumers and businesses to identify what it is, understand how it applies or grasp the potential benefits and costs associated. An interesting parallel may have occurred in the 1980’s as people attempted to define the “internet” or “cyberspace.” At that time, it was a tool used by the government and university researchers with rooms full of mainframe computers. Today, it’s something that we carry with us by way of the iPhone and Blackberry. Caveats aside, the term “smart grid” represents a technology vision to optimize efficient electricity information, transfer and use.
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Legislative Hurdles to Greening Chicago

March 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Danielle Wagner

It’s no secret that Mayor Daley has made it his mission to help Chicago earn the title of “greenest city in the nation.” And while some cities across the nation have followed Chicago’s lead in expedited green permitting processes, density bonuses, incentives, greening municipal buildings and fee reductions and waivers, is the City of Broad Shoulders still an innovator of the sustainable movement? Other city governments have begun to take green building to the next level by mandating it and adopting standards into their building codes. But how does Chicago fare on the national stage?
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Cold as Ice: How Downtown Chicago Keeps Cool

March 11, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

By Matt Baker

Chicago has ice in its veins.

In truth, it’s not ice but 34° water coursing beneath the surface of downtown Chicago. One long stretch runs up LaSalle, another down Dearborn. A search of Lower Columbus might reveal pipes suspended over one’s head. Feeding this network, tucked away in different corners of the city, cooling plants deliver on-demand chilled water. Thermal Chicago is the company behind this district cooling network, and they may be one of the city’s best-kept energy secrets.
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The Green Lease: Considerations for Existing Buildings

March 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Robert Smith
Partner, Holland & Knight LLP

According to an April 2009 report by the U.S. Green Building Council, (USGBC), commercial and residential buildings account for almost 40% of all energy consumed in the U.S. and a full 72% of the nation’s electrical use. Read more