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Mayor Announces Expansion of Recycling to Entire City by End of 2013

February 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

recyclingThe city of Chicago announced today the expansion of the blue cart recycling program to the 49th and 50th Wards. However, city officials also vowed to expand recycling pickup to the entirety of Chicago by the end of the year.
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Retrofit Chicago

June 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Some in the sustainability community were unsure of what sort of policy changes to expect as Mayor Daley handed over his office to Rahm Emanuel. After all, under Daley’s charge, a number of green building programs were put in place, such as the Green Permit Program, the Chicago Climate Action Plan and the Chicago Green Bungalow Initiative. The green roof on top of city hall stood as a badge of his commitment for years.
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Building Green Chicago 2012

June 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Linda Seggelke

Now in its sixth year, the Building Green Chicago Conference has grown into one of the area’s most reliable sustainable building events. Hundreds came out to the Chicago Mart Plaza to visit with green vendors, hear educational seminars and network with like-minded professionals.
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BOMA Chicago Announces Winners of 2011-2012 TOBY Awards

January 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago (BOMA/Chicago) announced the winners of “The Outstanding Building of the Year” (TOBY) Awards at an awards gala over the weekend. The TOBY Awards are designed to recognize excellence in office building management across several categories based on building size and type. The buildings were judged on tenant relations, commitment to environmental sustainability, emergency preparedness, budgeting, work order systems, security standards, staff experience and continuing education opportunities.
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The Chicago Energy Code Turns Ten

December 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Linda Seggelke

Ten years ago, the city of Chicago introduced its Energy Conservation Code, based largely on the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The 2001 Chicago Energy Code was written to increase savings by lessening energy drain both commercially and residentially.

In that time, it has been revised twice: in 2006 and 2009. These revisions have seen some modest gains in efficiency. The 2009 edition, for example, contains a 15% increase in overall energy savings beyond the 2006 book.
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New Ordinance Encourages More Urban Farming

September 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Jon Sedey

A new zoning code, approved at the last council meeting, will promote the expansion of community gardening and urban agriculture within the city boundaries.

The amendment, first introduced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in July, recognizes urban farming and allows citizens or companies to apply for building permits and zoning approvals to help establish foundations in the urban agriculture sector. The ordinance legalizes urban farming of vegetables, fruits and fish and will permit owners to sell what they raise.
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Chicago River Improvements Include New Boathouses, Pollution Controls

September 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Click to enlarge.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Monday a plan to enhance the Chicago River’s recreational appeal. The future development would be grounded by four new boathouses, several new boat launches, expansion of riverfront trails and pollution controls of the famed waterway.
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Emanuel Looks to Clean Up Chicago Recycling

September 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Susanna Weatherford

The City Council adopts the goal of making regular recycling service available by July 1, 1993, to 100 percent of the households in low-density dwellings served by the City of Chicago.

So begins the section of the Chicago Municipal Code regarding regular recycling service. To put that in perspective, Chicago Bulls fans were wearing out the word “threepeat” in July of 1993, the Unabomber was still on the loose and David Letterman was preparing his switch from NBC to CBS.
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Chicago’s Green Business Ordinance Sparks Controversy among Green Business Advocates

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By: Jon Sedey

Green Business owners are seeing controversy over a new business certification passed Wednesday by the Chicago City Council. Established by the Department of Environment, this ordinance is intended to certify companies that meet certain green and environmentally friendly standards. Companies that meet and exceed these standards will be able to place a decal on the front of their shop.

Despite active participation by green-business groups in this ordinance, many were upset by the version that was approved.

“I was disappointed to see the green business certification ordinance pass,” said Peter Nicholson, director at Foresight Sustainable Business Alliance. “I am afraid that this opens doors for greenwashing, by allowing a business to get certified based on criteria that may not be relevant to their core product or service.”

This ordinance will let non-green based businesses get a certification and become raised to the same status as green businesses working to be environmentally friendly.

Suzanne Keers, executive director and co-founder of Local First Chicago, says that this ordinance is flawed because it does not place value on the companies’ complete environmental or social impact. “A business owner could encourage employees to ride their bike to work, but they might also be creating a product full of pollutants that’s harming our community and still be certified under this ordinance,” she said.

To obtain a Chicago Green Business title, the ordinance stipulates businesses must adopt a handful of practices across varying criteria. For instance, businesses must prove that they are reducing carbon emissions by following four steps among a list of fourteen, including encouraging bike usage, riding trains, carpooling or working via telecommute. Another category is energy reduction where businesses can get steps (often referred to as points) by monitoring and recording energy use, switching to compact fluorescent lights and planting vegetation.

Alderman Margaret Laruino (39th) co-sponsored this ordinance and expects the program to alter over time. “It’s only a first step and completely voluntary. We fully expect municipal code to evolve as environmental technologies and business practices change with the times.”

Dan Rosenthal, chairman of the Green Restaurant Co-op and owner of Sopraffina restaurants believes this will mislead and confuse business owners. “Under this ordinance, all a business has to do is fill out a form, sign an affidavit, send in a hundred bucks to the city and poof! It’s now a certified Chicago Green Business. It’s the very definition of greenwashing, no third party audit is involved.”

With no audit, proponents of this ordinance fear that there will not be any oversight and there will be no way to know whether or not the business is keeping the standards that its decal claims. This contrasts the Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op, whereby restaurants are required to be audited and have their sustainability claims verified.

Green Business Chicago goes into effect in January.

Chicago’s Next Mayor: As Green as the Last?

January 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Richard M. Daley, Chicago’s outgoing mayor, has cultivated a reputation over the years for forward-thinking environmentalism. Bike sharing programs, the City Hall green roof and the Chicago Energy Conservation Code for new and remodeled buildings are just parts of the green legacy he leaves behind.
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